Vladimir Putin will visit Iran next week, the Kremlin has said, just hours after the US warned he is trying to buy military drones from Tehran to use in Ukraine.
The Russian leader will visit the Iranian capital on Tuesday for a meeting with Iran’s leaders and Turkey’s President Erdogan, ostensibly to hold talks on Syria.
But the situation in Ukraine – which sits across the Black Sea from Turkey – is almost certain to feature in discussions.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Kremlin, said Putin and Erdogan will have a separate meeting without Iran’s leaders at the summit.
However, he rubbished suggestions that talks could lead to more negotiations with Ukraine, which Erdogan helped facilitate in the early days of the war.
The trip marks on the second time Putin has been abroad since the war started almost five months ago
It was announced just hours after Jake Sullivan, US National Security Adviser, warned that Iran is preparing to sell drones to Russia to use in Ukraine.
Mr Sullivan – speaking before Joe Biden travels for talks with Iran’s biggest rival Saudi Arabia – said Tehran is planning to provide ‘hundreds’ of combat drones to Moscow.
In addition, Iranian soldiers will train their Russian counterparts in how to use the drones – with lessons beginning in just a few weeks.
‘Initial training sessions slated to begin as soon as early July,’ Mr Sullivan said.
Read More: Putin announces visit to Iran as US warns Russia is turning to Tehran for help with the war in Ukraine
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