Putin’s weapons from Iran, North Korea
October 31, 2023 - Russia has enlisted Iran and North Korea to provide weapons for its ongoing assault on Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin has even built a factory to construct thousands of Iranian-designed drones.
North Korea has been supplying Russia with munitions since September, Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate, told state news agency Ukrinform.
“North Korea has been supplying Russia with 122mm and 152mm artillery rounds and rockets for Grad multiple rocket launchers for a month and a half,” Budanov said.
Engineers at Alabuga -- an industrial hub deep inside Russia -- have been secretly building a production line to manufacture thousands of Iranian-designed drones, weapons that Putin’s forces could use to bombard Ukrainian cities.
The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security analyzed leaked documents from Russia’s Alabuga Special Economic Zone, supplied by the Washington Post.
The documents outlined the plan, code-named “Project Boat,” to build a variant of Iran’s Shahed-136, a self-detonating attack drone capable of travelling 2,500km.
Since January 2023, an estimated 200 Alabuga engineers have travelled to drone manufacturing centres in Iran to gain expertise.
Assembly of Iran-supplied Shahed-136s -- Russia calls the drone the Geran-2 -- began in February at Alabuga. Production of the Russian version will start fully in February 2024.