Ukraine Strikes Russian Drone Factory 800 miles Away

In an unprecedented move, has targeted facilities in 's Tatarstan Republic, located 800 miles from the Ukrainian border. The attacks, carried out by drones on April 2, aimed at disrupting the production of Shahed-type attack drones and Russia's third-largest oil refinery.

Ukrainian Military Intelligence Behind the Attack

A source in Ukraine's military intelligence (HUR) revealed to the Kyiv Independent that the agency was responsible for the attack on the manufacturing facility for Shahed-type drones in Yelabuga. These Iranian-made drones have been regularly used by Russia to target civilian and energy infrastructure in Ukraine.

The extent of the damage to the production facilities remains unclear, with conflicting reports from Russian and Ukrainian officials. While a local Russian governor claimed minimal disruption, an unnamed Ukrainian security source told RBC-Ukraine that there was “significant destruction.”

Joint Operation Targets Oil Refinery

In addition to the drone factory, the attacks also targeted Russia's third-largest oil refinery in Nizhnekamsk. A source in the Security Service (SBU) informed the Kyiv Independent that this was a joint operation carried out by the SBU and HUR. The recent attacks have reportedly disrupted between 12-14% of Russia's refining capacity.

President Volodymyr Zelensky defended Ukraine's right to use its own weapons for self-defense, stating, “It is equally important that Russian terrorists are getting responses to their strikes. Each time, they are getting more and more far-reaching responses.”

Russian Production of Iranian Drones

Reports of a Shahed-type drone production facility in Tatarstan first surfaced in early 2023. Satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies, released by the , showed groundworks for the plant in April 2023. Moscow aims to produce 6,000 Shahed-type drones by 2025, according to secret documents reported by the Post.

Ukraine Strikes Russian Drone Factory 800 miles Away 1
The image shows an Iranian-manufactured Shahed 131/136 kamikaze drone, a type of unmanned aerial vehicle frequently employed by Russian forces to conduct airstrikes on Ukrainian targets, as reported by Ukraine's Southern Operational Command via their Telegram channel.

Russia has been assembling about 330-350 drones monthly, with spare parts and components coming from other than . Deputy Head of Ukraine's Military Intelligence, Vadym Skibitsky, stated that Moscow's goal is to achieve a fully closed production cycle of these drones in Russia by 2026.

Ukraine's Long-Range Drone Capabilities

Ukrainian officials have been open about the country's increased production of domestically-made long-range drones. Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov revealed that Ukraine is manufacturing drones with a range of over 600 miles, while Strategic Industries Minister Oleksandr Kamyshin confirmed that a Ukrainian-made drone could travel up to 750 miles.

The specific weapon used in the Tatarstan attack remains unknown, but Russian media speculated that it might have been a converted Ukrainian-produced Aeroprakt A-22 Foxbat light aircraft. Military analyst Oleksandr Kovalenko noted that such an aircraft could potentially be adapted for a long-distance one-way flight with a powerful warhead.

The Ukrainian drone strikes on facilities in Russia's Tatarstan Republic mark a significant escalation in the ongoing conflict. By targeting the production of Shahed-type drones and oil refineries deep within Russian territory, Ukraine has demonstrated its growing long-range strike capabilities.

As President Zelensky emphasized, these attacks serve as a response to Russia's continued strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure. The development of Ukraine's domestic and its ability to disrupt Russian military production could have far-reaching implications for the future of the war.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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