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Russian missiles destroy Ukrainian drone factory

RUSSIAN missiles destroyed a Ukrainian factory making parts for Turkish drones in the eastern city of Zaporizhia, one of the region’s most important industrial regions today.

Three Kaliber cruise missiles struck the Motor Sich plant in the early hours of the morning as Russia aimed at neutralising Ukrainian military capabilities. 

Workshops at the factory were building some 30 AI-450t engines for the Turkish Akinci heavy attack drone, according to reports. 

Turkish drones, most notably the Bayraktar TB2, achieved an almost cult-like status in Ukraine because of their perceived effectiveness in the weeks after the Russian offensive.  

A baby lemur was named Bayraktar in honour of the unmanned aerial vehicle, while a patriotic song written by Ukrainian soldier Taras Borovok was sung during protests against Russia. 

But the drone’s capabilities have since been cast into doubt with military experts suggesting that they had been proved useless against the Russian military and their alleged successes overstated. 

The Bayraktar is a source of national pride for Turkey and has been credited for swinging recent conflicts in both Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh. 

The Turkish drones have also been used in targeted assassinations of Kurdish activists and political leaders in northern Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan, along with a number of strikes on a UN-administered refugee camp. 

Three Kurdish women, Zehra Berkel, Hebun Mele Xelil and Amina Waysi, were executed in a targeted drone strike on their homes in Kobane in 2020 to global silence. 

The Morning Star has previously reported on Britain’s secretive role in enabling the TB2 to fire its deadly payload through the licensing of the Hornet Bomb rack manufactured by EDO MBM in Brighton. 

On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky complained of “disunity” among Nato member states over the supply of weapons to his country. 

He was speaking video-link on a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum meeting of the world’s richest people and political leaders in Davos. 

“Unity is about weapons. My question is, is there this unity in practice? I can’t see it. Our huge advantage over Russia would be when we are truly united,” he said. 

The actor-turned-president said there remained divisions over Finland and Sweden’s Nato membership which is currently being held up over Turkish objections.

“So, is there a strong joint West? No,” Mr Zelensky said.

While members of the military alliance remain confident that obstacles can be overcome, there appears to have been little progress following meetings held with Finnish and Swedish delegations in Turkey. 

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