Ukraine moves to cut diplomatic ties with Iran after drone attacks

KYIV, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Ukraine's foreign minister said on Tuesday he was submitting a proposal to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to formally cut diplomatic ties with Tehran after a wave of Russian attacks using what Kyiv says are Iranian-made drones.

Russia launched dozens of "kamikaze" drones on targets in Ukraine on Monday, striking energy infrastructure and killing several civilians.

Ukraine says the attacks were carried out with Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones. Tehran denies supplying the drones.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Kyiv was certain they were Iranian and would be ready to share a "bag of evidence" to European powers in doubt.

"Tehran bears full responsibility for the destruction of relations with Ukraine", Kuleba told a news conference. "I am submitting to the president of Ukraine a proposition to sever diplomatic ties with Iran."

Kuleba said he had urged the European Union to impose sanctions on Iran "for helping Russia to kill Ukrainians."

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba attends a high level meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the situation amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, U.S., September 22, 2022. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky

"Severe sanctions against Iran are especially relevant right now, as we are witnessing reports on Iranian intentions to give Russia ballistic missiles to be used against Ukrainians," he said.

"The actions of Iran are vile and deceitful. We won’t suffer them, because all those actions were done while Iran told us that they didn’t support the war and won’t support any of the sides with their weapons."

Kuleba said Kyiv would send an official note to Israel seeking immediate air defence supplies and cooperation in the sector.

There was no immediate Israeli response to Kuleba's remarks.

Earlier on Tuesday, a member of Israel's decision-making security cabinet, Justice Minister Gideon Saar, told national broadcaster Army Radio: "Our support for Ukraine does not include weapons systems and weaponry - and there is no change to that position."

While Israel has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and provided Kyiv with humanitarian relief, it has stopped short of also providing military support, citing concern for continued cooperation with Moscow over next-door Syria.

Reporting by Max Hunder in Kyiv and Dan Williams in Jerusalem; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Timothy Heritage

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