FlySeeagro, a Russian drone manufacturer, based in Krasnador, announced this week it was investing $80 million in establishing a new production line in cooperation with the Directorate of the Navoi Free Economic Zone in Uzbekistan.
The project will be overseen by Russian specialists with the aim of providing drones to the Russian market and third countries, particularly the Middle East.
An official statement on the plans by the CEO of the economic zone, Khabib Abdullaev, said its drones were only intended for “agricultural” purposes.
He added: “It is impossible to use them for military purposes, because the parameters are completely different.”
While there is nothing on the FlySeeagro website to contradict that assertion, the war in Ukraine has shown that the line between military and civilian drones is so fine as to be virtually non-existent.
FlySeeagro boasts of having one of the most modern drone parks in Russia and five years of experience in applying the latest drone technologies.
Key members of the company’s senior management team have a military background and even declare on the site that they maintain those links.
Its “Head of Flight,” Yuri Tiuntin, is a master of the sport of aeromodelling and teaches the subject to reservists of Russia’s armed forces in Krasnador, while its “Head of Sales,” Vitali Eframov, is a former fighter pilot.
Screenshot of FlySeeagro corporate video
Despite FlySeeagro’s public “non-military” stance, its corporate video shows staff dressed in camouflage clothing as they prepare and launch their drones.
Russia has used drones extensively in its full-scale military offensive in Ukraine, ramping up production as it seeks to hold back the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia, has refused to endorse Russia’s invasion, but it still maintains close economic and political ties with its former Soviet ally.
The US Treasury announced on Thursday that among the 130 entities being subjected to new sanctions were 13 companies accused of helping Russia to acquire critical military drone technology for use in Ukraine. The restrictions include those against one based in Uzbekistan.
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