Russia receiving hundreds of Iranian drones, plans to produce them: White House

Moscow has not only received hundreds of Iranian drones but is working with Iran to produce them from inside Russia, according to the White House -- a sign of the deepening military partnership between the two countries, reports citing Reuters.

“We have information that Russia is receiving materials from Iran needed to build a UAV manufacturing plant inside Russia,” said U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby in a statement sent to VOA Thursday. “This plant could be fully operational early next year.”

The White House released satellite imagery of the planned location of the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) manufacturing plant in Russia’s Alabuga Special Economic Zone.

Kirby said that currently, drones are built in Iran, shipped across the Caspian Sea from Amirabad, Iran to Makhachkala, Russia, and then used operationally by Russian forces against Ukraine.

On Friday, the Biden Administration is releasing a new advisory to help businesses and other governments “better understand the risks posed by Iran’s UAV program and the illicit practices Iran uses to procure components for it.”

“This will help governments and businesses put in place measures to ensure they are not inadvertently contributing to Iran’s UAV program,” Kirby added.

Russia has increasingly deployed drones to bombard Ukrainian cities and targets in recent weeks. They are “a difficult target because Ukraine has limited air defense resources,” Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat told VOA Friday.

“Iranian drones are hard to detect; they are slow,” he said. “The Shaheds fly very low, use the river delta and forest, and drop from the radars.”

Ihnat noted that Moscow sends the drones to all parts of Ukrainian territory from different directions. “Ukraine Air defense today is focused on the protection of big towns, infrastructure objects, and critical infrastructure,” he said.

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