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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Monday imposed sanctions on the chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the corp’s Aerospace Force and a company making drones that the bloc says have been used by Russia in its war against Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Western-reinforced air defenses are making it difficult for Russian warplanes to operate, and killer drones are a cheap weapon that can seek out and destroy targets while spreading fear among both troops and civilians.
Russia stands accused of sending waves of Iranian-made drones over Ukraine to strike at power plants and other key infrastructure. The EU says it has evidence that Iran has sold drones to Russia since the war began in February. It is investigating reports that Iran might also be supplying missiles.
In a statement, the EU said it was targeting Revolutionary Guard chief Gen. Hossein Salami because the corps “supervises the development of Iran’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) program as well as the transfer of UAVs abroad.”
The bloc also slapped sanctions on the Revolutionary Guard’s Aerospace Force and commanding general, saying that the Shahed-136 and Mohajer-6 drones they have allegedly supplied “are used by the Russian Federation in the war of aggression against Ukraine.”
Qods Aviation Industries, which makes Mohajer-6 drones, was also listed “for supporting materially actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”
Last month, the EU imposed an asset freeze on Shahad Aviation Industries, and an asset freeze and travel ban on three armed forces generals suspected of links to Iran’s drone program.
Follow all AP stories on the impact of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.