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Russia's military drone production ramping up, says defence minister

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in footage published by his ministry on Saturday that the country's production of military drones had ramped up in the past year, though certain technical issues still needed tackling.

Russia has made extensive use of drones in the course of the almost two year-long military campaign in Ukraine, but has often had to rely on cheap Iranian-made Shahed drones.

"The production capacities that have been created allow us to complete most of the tasks that we are faced with today," Shoigu said during a tour of drone production facilities in the Volga river region of Udmurtia.

He was shown telling a meeting of officials that issues related to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in drones and electronic warfare still needed to be resolved.

Moscow has in recent months been signalling that its military industrial complex has stepped up production, as Russia seeks to break months of military deadlock in Ukraine.

Ukrainian commanders have said drones will be vital to gaining the upper hand in the conflict, while military analysts say heavy use of the weapons by both sides is making it difficult for troops to make land advances.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Felix Light; Editing by Helen Popper)