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Russia admits most of its drones come from China

by Martin Fornusek October 16, 2023 4:55 PM 2 min read
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov during President Vladimir Putin's meeting with the Federal Assembly on Feb. 21, 2023, in Moscow, Russia. (Contributor/Getty Images)
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The majority of drones that Russia currently has are imported from China, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Oct. 16 in a rare acknowledgment.

"Today, (our) drones are mostly all from the People's Republic of China," Siluanov said at the meeting of the State Duma's Budget and Taxes Committee.

"We are grateful to our partners, but we need to develop our own resource base and allocate the necessary funds."

The minister said that Russia is devoting 60 billion rubles ($600 million) to boost the domestic production of drones.

"The task is that by 2025, 41% of all drones will be labeled Made in Russia," the minister explained.

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Although U.S. intelligence reported in July that China is exporting large amounts of dual-use technologies with potential military applications to Russia, including drones, this is the first public acknowledgment by a Russian official.

The Washington Post said in August that shortly after the U.S. report had been made public, China decided to limit its exports of long-range civilian drones over fears of their military use.

While China has officially positioned itself as a neutral party in the Russia-Ukraine War and called for a diplomatic solution, Beijing has not denounced the Kremlin's aggression and has continued to develop close mutual ties.

Drones have played a major role on both sides of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, serving as a means for reconnaissance and air strikes. Russia has also been importing Shahed "kamikaze" drones from Iran, regularly used in strikes on civilian targets, and has reportedly even developed their domestic-made variants.

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