Monday, June 24, 2024

US says drone plant Russia building with Iran help could be fully operational by 2024

The US believes that a combat drone manufacturing plant Russia is building with Iran’s help could be fully operational by early next year, National Security Council official John Kirby has stated. Kiev and its allies have accused Tehran of sending attack drones to Moscow, an allegation Iran denies.

Iran is shipping equipment for the plant, as well as fully-built drones, to Russia via the Caspian Sea, US officials believe.

Kirby, the NSC’s coordinator for strategic communications, confirmed previous CNN reporting that Iran is using the Caspian Sea route to move drones, bullets and mortar shells to Russia, often using vessels that are “dark,” or have turned off their tracking data to disguise their movements.

The US released a map on Friday showing the route Iran appears to be using to ship the equipment from Amirabad, Iran to Makhachkala, Russia.

“Russia has been using Iranian UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) in recent weeks to strike Kyiv and terrorize the Ukrainian population, and the Russia-Iran military partnership appears to be deepening,” Kirby said in a statement on Friday.

“The support is flowing both ways: from Iran to Russia, and from Russia to Iran,” Kirby added.

Both Iran and Russia have repeatedly denied claims that Tehran has provided Moscow with drones to be used in the Ukraine war.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in November dismissed media controversy over Iran’s alleged support for Russia in the Ukraine war, adding, however, that Tehran had provided Moscow with a limited number of drones months before the war in Ukraine.

He also assured that Iran will not be indifferent if it is proven that Russia has used Iranian drones in the conflict.

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