Iran is supplying Russia with materials to build a drone manufacturing plant near Moscow, according to a recently declassified US intelligence report released by the White House on Friday.
The plant in the Alabuga special economic zone, several hundred kilometers east of the Russian capital, will be used to counter the latest Ukrainian offensive and could be operational early next year, the official said. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
The White House released declassified satellite images from April of the industrial location where it believes the plant “will likely be built.”
The White House also described how drones are shipped across the Caspian Sea from the Iranian city of Amirabad to Makhachkala, Russia, then transferred to two air bases to be deployed in attacks against civilian populations in Ukraine.
“This is a large-scale defense partnership that is detrimental to Ukraine, to Iran’s neighbors and to the international community,” Kirby said, according to The Associated Press.
“We continue to use every tool at our disposal to expose and disrupt these activities, including sharing them with the public – and we stand ready to do more.”
The latest declassified report is a continuation of the US strategy to publicize the ties between the two countries in order to undermine the Russian invasion.
The United States has previously warned against deepening military ties between Tehran and Moscow.
In December, the Biden administration said it believed Tehran and Moscow were considering setting up a drone assembly line in Russia to support its illegal invasion of Ukraine.
In return, Russia offered Iran “unprecedented defense cooperation”, including missiles, electronics and air defenses, as it tried to quell a popular uprising at home, Ms. Kirby in February.
Russian forces have been terrorizing Ukraine since the fall of 2022 with Iranian-made suicide drone attacks.
Russia used them to target residential buildings, playgrounds, power plants and bridges, killing dozens of civilians, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said.
The White House is preparing to issue a new advisory to businesses and governments to ensure they don’t inadvertently aid the Iran-Russia tie, Kirby added.
The United States and its European allies have issued new rules in recent months in an attempt to reduce the flow of drone parts to the two countries, he said.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia will start deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus in a few months.