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Media: Russian drone manufacturer to open factory in Uzbekistan

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 2, 2023 10:29 PM 2 min read
A drone inspects mature cotton fields in Hami, Xinjiang province, China, Sept. 30, 2023. (Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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A Russian drone manufacturer plans to open a factory in Uzbekistan's Navoi free economic zone, AFP reported on Nov. 2.

The company, Flyseeagro, claims to only produce drones for agricultural purposes like crop spraying and monitoring fields.

Flyseeagro said it signed an agreement this week and plans to invest $80 million over the next five years on the production line, AFP reported.

Companies who invest in the Navoi free economic zone can operate without paying taxes, and special economic regulations apply to "innovative, high-tech, export-oriented and import-substituting industries."

Khabib Abdullaev, the CEO of the Navoi free economic zone, also said to AFP that "these drones are designed for agriculture."

"The parameters are completely different," making it "impossible" to use the drones for military purposes.

The Flyseeagro website states that the company is currently based in Krasnodar and has five years of experience "in applying the latest technologies to develop the agricultural business."

Drones are a dual-use technology that can be used in both civilian and military contexts, making drone producers that are suspected of exporting to Russia a target of Western sanctions.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced that it has added 130 new individuals and entities to its sanctions list on Nov. 2,  due to their role in helping Russia obtain military technology and equipment like drones.

One Tashkent-based electronic parts supplier was included on the list.

The same day, the State Department said it had targeted 90 entities and individuals "engaged in sanctions evasion and those complicit in furthering Russia’s ability to wage its war against Ukraine," as well as companies involved in the Russian defense, electronics, energy and mining sectors.

Macron visits Kazakhstan in first leg of Central Asia trip
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in the Kazakh capital Astana on Nov. 1 on the first leg of a trip to Central Asia that will also see him visit neighboring Uzbekistan.
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