Russia and Iran have moved ahead with a plan to build thousands of Iranian drones on Russian soil.
An Iranian delegation visited the drone production site in early January to thrash out project details, The Wall Street Journal revealed, citing sources.
The countries plan to build at least 6,000 drones at a site in Yelabuga, about 600 miles (965 kilometers) east of Moscow.
The plan includes building a faster drone than those already delivered to Russia, the outlet added.
Russian Bought Over 2,000 Iranian Drones
Russia bought an estimated 2,400 drones from Iran, including Shahed-136s, Shahed-129s, Shahed-191s, and Qods Mohajer-6s.
The November deal involved the transfer of designs and components to produce low-cost explosives-laden drones in Russia, The Washington Post reported.
An Iranian delegation to formalize the deal was led by Brig. Gen. Abdollah Mehrabi, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, and Ghassem Damavandian, the chief executive of Iran’s Quds Aviation Industry.
Growing Iran-Russia Ties
The deal would allow Moscow to continue its aerial assault on Ukrainian infrastructure and offer Tehran plausible deniability about helping Russia.
Moscow is also helping Iranian fighter pilots train on Russian jets, with plans of selling them to Tehran by the end of the year.
Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia. However, it claimed that the weapons were sent before the Ukraine war, saying that its drones are not being used against Kyiv.
Kyiv said Russia had deployed around 400 Iranian drones by November, ordering 2,000 more.