Russia is receiving materials from Iran to build a drone factory on its territory that “could be fully operational as early as next year,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby warned on Friday.
The White House published a satellite image of the location of the future plant in the special economic zone of Alabuga, about 900 kilometers east of Moscow.
“Russia-Iran military partnership appears to be deepeningKirby said in a statement, citing US intelligence.
The White House said it would issue a new government advisory to help companies and governments “make sure they are not inadvertently contributing to Iran’s (drone) program.”
Washington estimates that Russia has received hundreds of attack dronesas well as related equipment from Iran to assist Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to US data, the drones are built in Iran, shipped across the Caspian Sea “and then used operationally by Russian forces against Ukraine,” Kirby said.
The White House published a map showing the alleged delivery route from the Iranian city of Amirabad to Makhachkala in southern Russiafrom where the drones are transported to an airbase in Primorsko-Akhtarsk on the Azov Sea.
“Russia has been using Iranian UAVs in recent weeks to attack Kiev and terrorize the Ukrainian population,” Kirby added, referring to the UAVs, or drones.
Washington has sounded the alarm about what it says are Moscow’s efforts to start manufacturing Iranian drones.
“We have information that Russia is receiving materials from Iran needed to build an UAV manufacturing facility inside Russia,” Kirby said.
In turn, Iran seeks to buy fighter jets su-35attack helicopters, radars and combat training aircraft YAK-130 from Russia worth billions of dollars, according to the White House.
“We will continue to impose sanctions on the actors involved in the transfer of Iranian military equipment to Russia for use in Ukraine,” Kirby said.
Iran has repeatedly denied US accusations of sending military supplies to Russia during its war against Ukraine, now in its second year.
The war has revived cooperation between Moscow and Tehranboth facing increasing international isolation.
The two countries recently announced the construction of a rail link aimed at circumventing traditional shipping lanes and international sanctions.
(With information from AFP)
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