Ukraine announced over the weekend that Russia hit the southern port city of Odesa with drone strikes over the weekend of September 23rd-25th.
It claims the strikes came from Iranian-made ‘Kamikaze’ drones and is downgrading its diplomatic relations with Tehran as a result.
The drones are called ‘Kamikaze’ drones or ‘loitering munitions,’ because they self-destruct and detonate their 35-40 kilogram warheads upon contact with their targets.
The Ukrainian southern command reported that the strikes on Odesa hit two military targets, blowing up munitions and starting fires. Media reports that drones hovering above the city and bullets shot from anti-aircraft guns terrified residents.
“As a result of a large-scale fire and the detonation of ammunition, the evacuation of the civilian population was organised,” the command said in a statement on the news outlet, Telegram. “Preliminarily, there have been no casualties.”
In a late address on Friday, September 23, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that in response the government would revoke the accreditation of the Iranian ambassador and reduce the Iranian diplomatic staff in Kyiv.
“Today, the Russian army used Iranian drones for attacking the Dnipropetrovsk region and Odesa,” Zelensky said. “I commissioned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide a tough response to this fact. The world will know about every facet of collaboration with evil, and it will have corresponding consequences.”
Zelensky also said that Ukrainian forces had shot down a total of eight Iranian-made drones so far in the conflict.
According to media reports, the Kamikaze drones have been increasingly present in the conflict since September.
“Such actions of Iran are considered as a step against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as against the life and health of Ukrainian citizens,” spokesman of President Serhiy Nykyforov said in a statement on Friday, September 23rd.
Iran said it was preparing “proportional action” in response to Ukraine’s downgrade of diplomatic ties.
Ukraine should “refrain from being influenced by third parties who seek to destroy relations between the two countries,” Iranian diplomat Nasser Kanaani said in a ministry statement.