Iran condemns Ukraine over baseless Drone strike charges

From Tehmina Mustapha

TEHRAN: Iran on Monday summoned a Ukrainian diplomat to protest “biased” remarks by a presidential aide in Kyiv over a recent drone strike in Iran, the Islamic republic’s foreign ministry said.
Mykhailo Podoliak, an advisor to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, linked in a tweet on Sunday Iran’s support for Russia’s invasion of his country with the night-time strike on a military site.
“Explosive night in Iran drone and missile production, oil refineries,” he said. “War logic bills the authors and accomplices strictly”. “Ukraine did warn you,” Podoliak added.
Iran’s foreign ministry said Ukraine’s charge d’affaires in Tehran had been summoned to provide “an official and immediate explanation from the Ukrainian government”. It called Podoliak’s remarks “strange and biased”, adding in a statement it hoped “such positions will not be repeated”.
Iranian authorities reported an “unsuccessful” drone attack late Saturday night that targeted a defence ministry “workshop complex” in the central Isfahan province, home to the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility.
An anti-aircraft system destroyed one drone and two others exploded, the defence ministry said, adding that there were no casualties and only minor damage to the site.
Dramatic video footage widely shared on social media and published by Iranian state media showed a fireball lighting up the night sky, with people outside seen running and emergency service vehicles speeding towards the site. Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Iran of supplying military drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine, a claim that is denied by Tehran.
Meanwhile, A Moscow proxy official said Monday that Russian forces were advancing near Vugledar, a town in the eastern Donetsk region, which is the epicentre of fighting in Ukraine, but Kyiv denied the claim.
“Our units continue advancing in the direction of Vugledar,” said Denis Pushilin, the Kremlin-appointed leader of the Donetsk region. “Now we can say that units have established positions in the eastern part of Vugledar, and work is also being carried out in the vicinity,” he said on Russian television.
A Ukrainian military spokesman in charge of the area said that Russia’s attacks were unsuccessful. “The enemy was hit by firearms and artillery. The enemy had no success and retreated,” Yevgen Yerin told media. “We did not lose our positions,” he added.
According to Pushilin, Ukraine’s forces have “had time to gain a foothold” in Vugledar which has a “large number of industrial facilities and high-rise buildings” that facilitate defensive operations.
Russia’s defence ministry said its troops had taken up “more advantageous positions” in Vugledar and inflicted losses on Ukrainian forces. Kyiv said last week that “fierce” fighting was underway for control of Vugledar, a town that had a population of around 15,000 before the war.
It is about 150 kilometres (93 miles) south of Bakhmut, where months of fighting have led to heavy losses on both sides. Pushilin said “fierce battles” were ongoing near Bakhmut but that it was “too early” to talk about the encirclement of the city.
“Fighting is ongoing, we are holding the defence and inflicting losses,” Sergiy Cherevaty, another Ukrainian military spokesman, told media. Kremlin-backed separatists have controlled parts of the industrial region of Donetsk, including its largest city, since 2014.
Moscow now seeks to capture the entire region after declaring it part of Russia last year. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday the situation on the front was “very tough”, adding that Bakhmut, Vugledar and other areas in the region of Donetsk are “under constant Russian attacks”.