Multiple international workers injured in Ukrainian attack on Russian drone factory in Tatarstan

A drone attack on the Alabuga Polytech compound in Tatarstan, where Shahed-136 strike drones are assembled, injured citizens from nine countries, reports the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, citing the press service of the Tatarstan governor.

In addition to Russian citizens, individuals from Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Sudan were allegedly injured.

Fourteen people were affected in total, with six still in hospital. It is likely they all worked at the production facility.

In July 2023, the news outlet The Protocol and the YouTube channel RZVRT reported that students and underage individuals, who started college after the ninth grade, were being recruited for the assembly of Iranian Shahed drones in Tatarstan. These students earn a total of 30-40 thousand rubles ($400) a month but have to work under grueling conditions.

Students at Alabuga Polytech are afraid to rebel or express dissatisfaction. According to their work contract, they do not have the right to disclose any information. Violation of these requirements could lead to fines of 1.5 to 2 million rubles ($21,700).

Furthermore, as journalists discovered, Polytech students working on drone production are forced to register on dating apps to attract female students from African countries to the production facility in Yelabuga. There they are referred to as "mulattas" and enticed into low-skilled work.

On April 2, Ukrainian drones attacked the Shahed manufacturing plant in Tatarstan, which is located a thousand kilometers from Ukraine. Some media outlets suggest that this may have been an operation by Ukraine's Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence.

  War in Ukraine, Russia, Tatarstan