Iran is helping Russia build a drone manufacturing plant that could be operational by 2024 - US intelligence
Iran is providing Russia with materials for the construction of a drone manufacturing plant, thus helping the Kremlin to establish a steady supply of weapons for the war in Ukraine. These are the conclusions of US intelligence released by the White House on Friday, 9 June.
This was reported by the Associated Press, citing the words of the speaker of the US National Security Council, John Kirby.
According to Kirby, US intelligence officials believe that the plant is being built in Russia's Alabuga Special Economic Zone, located in the Elabuga district of Tatarstan, and could be operational as early as early 2024.
The White House also released satellite images taken in April of the industrial area where the plant is "likely to be built".
In December 2022, President Joe Biden's administration publicly stated that it believed Tehran and Moscow were considering creating a drone production pipeline in Russia for the war in Ukraine. New intelligence indicates that the Alabuga project has gone beyond the plan.
US intelligence has also found that Iran continues to supply the Russian military with Iranian-made attack drones, Kirby said.
These drones are transported across the Caspian Sea from Amirabad in Iran to the Dagestan capital of Makhachkala, and then overland to Russian bases, from where they are launched into Ukraine.
According to the White House, as of May, Russia has received hundreds of attack drones from Iran, as well as equipment for their production.
"This is a full-scale defence partnership that harms Ukraine, Iran's neighbours, and the international community. We continue to use every tool at our disposal to expose and disrupt these activities, including by providing information to the public, and we stand ready to do more," Kirby said.
As OBOZREVATEL previously reported, in May, Russia launched more than 300 Iranian-made kamikaze drones into Ukraine. Since the start of the full-scale war, this was the most intensive use of UAVs that Moscow has received from Tehran.