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  5. Iran's attack drones have become a key weapon in Russia's war arsenal. Now Tehran is helping Putin to build his own factory to produce them, says the White House.

Iran's attack drones have become a key weapon in Russia's war arsenal. Now Tehran is helping Putin to build his own factory to produce them, says the White House.

Alia Shoaib   

Iran's attack drones have become a key weapon in Russia's war arsenal. Now Tehran is helping Putin to build his own factory to produce them, says the White House.
  • The US said that Russia was receiving materials from Iran for an attack drone manufacturing plant.
  • Russia has been widely using Iranian drones to strike Ukraine since the start of the war.

The US said it had information that Russia was receiving materials from Iran to build a killer drone manufacturing plant.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said in a statement on Friday that the US was "concerned that Russia is working with Iran to produce Iranian UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] from inside Russia," Reuters reported.

"Russia has been using Iranian UAVs in recent weeks to strike Kyiv and terrorize the Ukrainian population, and the Russia-Iran military partnership appears to be deepening," he said.

He added that the drone plant, sighted in Russia's Alabuga Special Economic Zone, east of Moscow, could be fully operational by early next year.

Russia has been accused of using Iranian-made drones to strike Ukraine since the start of the war, which Moscow has denied.

Iran has admitted to sending drones to Russia, but it said it did so before the invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.

While reports at the end of last year suggested that Russia had run out of Iranian-made drones, Kirby noted in Friday's statement that it appeared Russia had received hundreds more — and it was using them to strike Ukraine, citing newly declassified information.

He said the drones were built in Iran and shipped across the Caspian Sea to the Russian port of Makhachkala.

In recent weeks, Russia hit Kyiv with the largest drone attack of the war, and Ukraine claimed to have shot down 52 Iranian-made devices, per The Guardian.

Iran, which is becoming a global leader in the production of drones, has been forming a closer partnership with Russia.

Iran has supplied Russia with several Shahed-series drones, colloquially known as "suicide" or "kamikaze" drones, with a payload of around 5-30 kg, reported Insider's Mia Jankowicz.

Light, quick, and inexpensive, they are often deployed in swarms to confuse air defense systems and act like a flying bomb that explodes on impact.

Russia has been deploying them against civilian targets on the battlefield, particularly in areas where Ukraine has an artillery advantage, as Insider reported.

The US and European Union have targeted Iran's drone industry with sanctions since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict.




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