On May 8, 2023, Ukrainian media spread very unpleasant news, citing the Center for National Resistance. According to one’s information, Russians are planning to launch production of Iranian kamikaze drones in Belarus. Presumably, the models will be Shahed-136 or another similar one (possible options include Mohajer-6 and Shahed-191).
On the available information, the drone assembly is supposed to be established at the facilities of the Gomel Radio Plant. A working group of Iranian engineers has already visited the enterprise for that purpose, and the visit has been jointly organized by the Russian FSB and the Belarusian KGB.
According to the same information, during the visit of specialists from Iran to the Belarusian plant, the possibility of not only assembly but also systematic production of kamikaze drones for the interests of the Russian army was discussed. There is also information that the Gomel Radio Factory has already been used as a base to retrofit Russian military drones, so there is relevant experience there.
“The course of events indicates that Russia continues to extend its control over Belarus’ defense sector. Deploying full-scale production of Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Belarus will help Russia solve logistical problems with transporting drones from Iran,” noted the Center for National Resistance.
As a reminder, the Gomel Radio Plant was merged with Gomselmash plant on December 20th of last year. The only obstacle to the plant’s bankruptcy was its military designation. In 2021, the company’s revenue amounted to only 5 million Belarusian rubles. And the average number of employees was only 164 people. Based on the results of 2020, the average salary at the Gomel Radio Plant was one of the lowest in the city, at only 551 Belarusian rubles.
And now it seems that the Belarusian regime has decided to improve the financial affairs of the Gomel Radio Plant by orders for Russian military purposes. It is known that previously, Russians delivered drones purchased in Iran to Murmansk and then started transferring them to Gomel. There, the kamikaze drones were retrofitted, painted, marked accordingly, and sent back to Russia.
There has also been repeated information that the Belarusian authorities are trying to reach an agreement with Iran on the production of Iranian UAVs on Belarusian territory. Not long ago, a Belarusian delegation flew to Iran. There, Minsk officials tried to negotiate with Iranians not only about the production of large-caliber rocket projectiles on Belarusian territory but also about the production of kamikaze drones and UAVs. Moreover, in Belarus, they have started producing their own laptops that use Intel processors. In other words, technologies that cannot be supplied to Russia will be cunningly supplied through Belarus.
It should be understood that since last summer, the Russian army has been actively using Iranian kamikaze drones (often Shahed-136) for strikes in Ukraine. Moreover, the strikes are not aimed at military targets but at the homes of civilians and civilian objects – this is the practice of terrorists. Right now, these days, dozens of Shahed-136 UAVs fly to Kiev, Zaporozhye, Kharkiv and other peaceful cities in Ukraine every night. Each drone carries 50 kg of explosives.
So, does Belarus want to become an accomplice in the Kremlin’s crimes by producing weapons for terrorist attacks on civilians?! Then we all need to understand: the production of military drones for Russia automatically makes the Gomel Radio Plant a legitimate target as a military facility for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
From the border with Ukraine, from the Chernihiv region to Gomel, it’s 70 kilometers. Just a few salvos from HIMARS, and the Gomel Radio Plant will be no more. But it should be understood: these will be missile salvos on Gomel. The Belarusian authorities deliberately turn it into a military target, without thinking about its residents.