Russia branded liability as Putin warned allies turning on him

Ukrainian military ambush Putin’s private army

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Russia has been branded a “liability” after launching its brutal war in Ukraine, with Vladimir Putin warned his few remaining allies are turning on him. This week, several officials from China reportedly tried to distance their country from the Ukraine invasion and expressed strong doubts over Putin. Armenia, a member with Russia in the Collective Security Treaty Organization, said his country has cancelled plans to host Russian military drills. Simon Miles, a historian of the Soviet Union and US-Soviet relations, told Insider: “Nobody wants an ally who is a liability, and it’s hard to see Putin’s Russia as anything else. I think we can see the consequences already in that the most active support is coming from Iran and North Korea — hardly the top of anyone’s friend wish list.”

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Russian defence manufacturing sector likely using ‘convict labour’ to meet war-time demands

The UK Ministry of Defence wrote in its latest intelligence update: “The Russian defence manufacturing sector is highly likely resorting to using convict labour in an effort to meet war-time production demands.

“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).

“There is a long tradition of prison labour in Russia, but since 2017 forced labour as a specific criminal punishment was reintroduced.

“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 utilise in support of the ‘special military operation’ while willing volunteers remain in short supply.

“Convict labour 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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