Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, landed in Iran on Tuesday for his first trip outside the former Soviet Union since beginning his invasion of Ukraine, which completely shattered relations with the West.
Putin had talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran. According to Iranian state news agency IRNA, he also had a meeting on Tuesday with Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.
Western officials have taken note of Russia’s ties to Iran as he gets ready to intensify ground offensives in eastern Ukraine after his soldiers took control of the Luhansk region.
According to recently disclosed US data, Iran is prepared to start instructing Russian forces on how to deploy “hundreds” of drones, including weapons-capable drones, for use in the conflict in Ukraine and expects to supply Russia with them as early as late July.
According to National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby, the fact that Russia turned to Iran for assistance last week “speaks volumes about the degree to which both nations have been increasingly isolated by the international community for their actions into different areas of the world.”
Putin’s visit to Iran will also include a face-to-face meeting with Erdogan, the president of NATO member Turkey, and it comes after Erdogan reiterated his threat to obstruct Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to the alliance after provisionally approving their application in June.