Iran has dispatched trainers from its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to an occupied part of Ukraine to help Russia with drones it purchased from Tehran, said a report published Tuesday.
Citing current and former US officials on the matter, The New York Times reported that the Iranian trainers are operating from a Russian military base in Crimea where many of the drones have been based.
Iran has recently been accused of providing the military drones to Russia after a series of strikes across war-hit Ukraine.
The Times said the deployment of the trainers reveals deeper Iranian involvement in the war.
The officials said Russian operators had encountered mechanical problems with the drones leading to their ineffective use.
According to the report, Moscow initially sent its troops to Iran for training, but later Tehran wanted to dispatch its trainers to Crimea.
The Iranian personnel only train Russians on how to fly the drones, according to the officials who spoke to the Times.
The number of trainers sent to Crimea remains unknown.
On Sept. 8, the US designated an air transportation service provider, Tehran-based Safiran Airport Services, for its involvement in the shipment of Iranian drones to Russia for its war against Ukraine.
Washington also sanctioned three companies and one individual involved in the research, development, production and procurement of Iranian drones and components, including the Shahed series of drones, for Iran’s IRGC and its Aerospace Force and Navy.