Russia uses prisoners to produce weapons, according to British intelligence

London, 13 Jan. The Russian military is resorting to the use of prisoners to meet the demands for production of weapons before the war in Ukraine, according to the latest intelligence report from the British Ministry of Defense.

In November 2022, Uralvagonzavod (UVZ), Russia’s largest tank manufacturer, told local media that it would employ 250 prisoners after meeting with the Federal Criminal Service (FSIN), the British report indicates.

This statement adds that there is a tradition in the Russian prison service of making prisoners work, but since 2017 forced labor has been reintroduced as a specific criminal punishment.

With one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, FSIN oversees more than 400,000 inmates and has frequently been accused of extreme brutality and corruption, the note said.

The prison population provides a unique human resource for Russian leaders to use in support of the “special military operation,” as Moscow calls the invasion of Ukraine, while willing volunteers remain in short supply, according to the report.

Convict labor is likely to be in particular demand by relatively low-tech weapons manufacturers such as UVZ, he adds.

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