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Russian Journalist Kidnapped, Told to Stop Reporting About Combat Drone Production

A Lancet drone. Nickel nitride

A Russian journalist was kidnapped and threatened over his reporting on combat drone production in the central city of Izhevsk, a local Telegram news channel where the journalist works said Thursday.

Izhevsky Venik wrote that its reporter Alexander Skvortsov left his home around midnight on Sunday to pick up “exclusive materials from an informant.” 

Three unidentified people were said to have shoved Skvortsov into a car, tied his hands, taped his mouth and took him to a basement where he was beaten.

One of the kidnappers reportedly warned the journalist that his family and colleagues would also face violence unless he stopped “talking sh*t about reputable people and [drone manufacturer] Zala Aero.” 

Zala Aero, founded by local businessman Alexander Zakharov in the early 2000s, makes the Lancet kamikaze drone, which created serious obstacles for Ukraine’s counteroffensive last year.

Izhevsky Venik said the kidnappers had brought Skvortsov back to where he was kidnapped around 24 hours later.

Police declined to investigate the kidnapping after learning about Zakharov's possible involvement, the outlet said.

Izhevsky Venik, which describes itself as an outlet that covers “pressing and topical issues in Izhevsk,” said it was “taking a pause” since it “lacks the resources to confront Zala Aero.”

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