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Russian Firm to Make 'Agricultural' Drones in Uzbekistan


A Russian drone manufacturer announced this week it would open a production line in Uzbekistan, as one local official said Thursday the drones were designed for "agricultural" purposes only.

Flyseeagro, a Russian firm which says it makes drones for crop spraying, said this week it had signed an agreement to build drones in Uzbekistan's Navoi free economic zone.

"These drones are designed for agriculture," the CEO of the economic zone Khabib Abdullaev told AFP on Thursday.

"It is impossible to use them for military purposes, because the parameters are completely different," he said.

Flyseeagro said it would spend $80 million on the investment over a five-year period, allowing it to export to Russia and other foreign markets, it said.

Russia has used drones extensively in its full-scale military offensive in Ukraine, ramping up production as it seeks to hold back a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Central Asian nation Uzbekistan has refused to endorse Russia's invasion, but it still maintains close economic and political ties with its former Soviet ally.

The U.S. Treasury announced Thursday it was imposing sanctions on 13 companies helping to develop military drones used in Ukraine, including one based in Uzbekistan.

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