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UK intelligence assesses Moscow's ability to defend military plants from Ukrainian drones

UK intelligence assesses Moscow's ability to defend military plants from Ukrainian drones Photo: Moscow is unable to protect military plants from drones (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

The Russian government is trying to balance between protecting factories in the interior and troops on the front lines. Priority is being given to the military, not civilians, according to the UK Ministry of Defense.

On April 2, the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacked a plant in Tatarstan, about 1200 kilometers from the border with Ukraine. The facility has been operating since July 2023 and is known to produce Iranian Shahed drones, which Russia uses to strike Ukraine.

Tatarstan's head of state, Rustam Minikhanov, later said in a statement that "no one will protect us but ourselves."

According to UK intelligence, this attack once again demonstrates the ability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to penetrate deep into Russia, bypass Russian air defense, and identify any facilities used for war.

"The comments from the head of the Tatarstan region highly likely demonstrate a fear around such attacks. It is likely that Russian MOD are struggling to protect such facilities and are likely content to balance the risk to sites staffed by civilians in favour of maintaining their focus on the frontline where Ukrainian UAV tactics, and frequency of attacks, continue to cause problems for Russian forces," the UK Ministry of Defense says.

Strike on factories in Tatarstan

On April 2, Ukrainian Defense Forces' drones attacked enterprises in the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia for the first time. The explosions were heard in the Elabuga special economic zone, where industrial and manufacturing enterprises are located and which is a thousand kilometers from the border with Ukraine.

According to a source in the special services, the attack was aimed at the Shahed assembly plant in particular. It was a Defense Intelligence of Ukraine's operation.