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Russia using convict labor for defense manufacturing sector - UK intelligence.

The Russian defense manufacturing sector is highly likely resorting to using convict labor in an effort to meet war-time production demands.

The UK Ministry of Defense said this in its latest intelligence update published on Twitter, Ukrinform reports.

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

According to the ministry, there is a long tradition of prison labor in Russia, but since 2017 forced labor as a specific criminal punishment was reintroduced.

Read also: Russia unlikely to encircle Bakhmut imminently – UK intelligence

With one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world, FSIN oversees a sprawling empire of over 400,000 inmates and has frequently been accused of extreme brutality and corruption.

"The prison population provides a unique human resource to Russian leaders to utilize in support of the 'special military operation' while willing volunteers remain in short supply," the update reads.

Convict labor will likely be particularly in demand from manufacturers of relatively low-tech weaponry such as UVZ, which are almost certainly under intense pressure from Moscow to increase their production.

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