(Reuters) - Russia's military cooperation with Iran will not succumb to geopolitical pressure, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, following reports that Washington has asked Teheran to stop selling drones to Moscow.
"There are no changes, and cooperation with Iran will continue," Ryabkov said, according to a report on Saturday from Russian state news agency RIA. "We are independent states and do not succumb to the dictates of the United States and its satellites."
The U.S. is pressing Iran to stop selling the armed drones, which Russia is using in the war in Ukraine, the Financial Times reported earlier this month, citing an Iranian official and another person familiar with the talks.
Russia began using the Iranian-made Shahed drones to attack deep inside Ukraine last year. The so-called kamikaze unmanned drones do not need a runway to launch and explode on impact.
Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but said in the past they were sent before Russia's February 2022 invasion in Ukraine. Moscow has denied its forces used Iranian drones in Ukraine.
A White House official said in June that Iran had transferred several hundred drones to Russia since August 2022.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Warsaw; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)