Russia Likely Using Prison Labor to Supply Army With Weapons: UK Intel
Russia announced that it is using forced labor of convicts to produce weapons. Russia has burned through most of its initial supply of tanks and ammunition, according to Western estimates. The UK Ministry of Defense said manufacturers are likely to be under intense pressure to keep the military supplied. Loading Something is loading.
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An assessment by British defense intelligence says Russia is “very likely” to use prison labor in its defense production as it tries to keep up with the demands of the war.
“The prison population provides a unique human resource for Russian leaders to use in support of ‘special military operation’ while willing volunteers remain in short supply,” the UK Ministry of Defense wrote in an intelligence update on Friday, using Russia’s euphemism for it. the invasion of Ukraine.
The UK Ministry of Defense noted reports from late November that Uralvagonzavod, Russia’s sole tank maker, announced it would use the forced labor of 250 convicts from Nizhny Tagil, a town 75 miles away. north of Yekaterinburg.
Russia, which reinstated forced prison labor in 2017, has a prison population of around 400,000 and a system accused of perpetuating “extreme brutality and corruption”, the UK Ministry of Defense said.
Despite a large initial supply of tanks – the International Institute for Strategic Studies estimated it had 12,800 in April last year – Russia appears to have been losing them faster than it can replace them.
In November, US officials estimated that Russia had lost half of its main battle tanks since the start of the war. The open source documentation project Oryx has counted 1,621 destroyed, damaged, abandoned or captured tanks.
Meanwhile, the Uralvagonzavod plant is capable of producing or upgrading about 20-30 tanks per month, according to the Kyiv Post. It is likely to be under “intense pressure” to produce more, the UK Ministry of Defense said.
The UK MoD report follows signs that Russia, like Ukraine, is struggling to keep its front lines supplied with a wide range of munitions.
In September, as international sanctions crumbled, US intelligence officials said Russia had approached North Korea for the supply of millions of artillery shells and missiles, The New York Times reported.
Estonia’s intelligence chief, Colonel Margo Grosberg, told a press conference in November last year that Russia had used almost two-thirds of its ammunition, according to state broadcaster ERR. And by December, a senior US military official said Russia had used 40-year-old artillery shells from its dwindling stockpile, CNN reported.
While Ukrainian and US assessments differ, both countries have said that the daily rate of artillery fire from Russia has dropped dramatically in recent months – suggesting that Russia is rationing its ammunition, CNN reported.
Ukraine is also finding spent Russian missiles that were clearly manufactured in 2022, Ukrainian Defense Ministry representative Vadym Skibitskyi told Ukrainian broadcaster RBC earlier this month.
This suggests that Russian missiles are going directly from the production line to the front line, he said.