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US imposed sanctions on Tambov bakery that produces drones for war

US imposed sanctions on Tambov bakery that produces drones for war A bakery in Tambov is producing drones for the war (rosmedia)
Author: Maria Kholina

The Kremlin is engaging civilian factories in the production of military gear and weapons. For example, a bakery in Tambov has started manufacturing drones for Russia's war against Ukraine, according to Financial Times.

Recently, Russian media showcased a report from a bakery in Tambov that, in addition to producing loaves, has begun manufacturing small Bekas drones. The drones were laid out on tables alongside bakery products, and the propagandist even claimed that the drones smelled like fresh bread.

У Тамбові хлібозавод виготовляє дрони для війни, проти нього ввели санкції США

The Tambov factory began assembling drones in February 2023 using a 3D printer that produces carbon frames, as well as mounts for antennas and cameras. Most components for Bekas are purchased online, allowing them to maintain costs ranging from 25,000 rubles (270 dollars) to 50,000 rubles per drone. The Tambov bakery produces about 250 drones per month, as well as camouflage backpacks.

Financial Times notes that the functionality of Bekas drones is limited. They can carry payloads weighing up to 3.5 kg for a distance of up to 5 km. However, the Tambov bread plant claimed to have created eight copies of such UAVs.

Experts point out that even such weaponry relies on Western components, which Russians procure abroad.

Pavlo Luzin, a senior research fellow at the Jamestown Foundation in Washington, said that the only Russian thing (in the drone - ed.) is the Bekas sticker.

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on the Tambov bread factory, a source of pride in Russia. Yuriy Chicherin, the director of the bakery, told Russian media that being included in the U.S. sanctions list is a significant achievement: "We are proud, we are happy. When else will someone talk about our factory on an international level?"

The Tambov factory has become an example for the Kremlin on how to involve civilian enterprises in military production. Russia claims that over 500 light industry companies have easily transitioned to manufacturing equipment for the military.

For instance, the hockey stick workshop in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny in the western-central part of Russia switched to manufacturing bulletproof vests. In Chelyabinsk, a tent production facility has started sewing sleeping bags and tents for the army. In Voronezh, an agricultural equipment plant produces a variety of military goods, from demining equipment and binoculars to anti-drone protection devices.

Russia switches to "military tracks"

Record military expenses were approved in Russia's budget for 2024. The Kremlin directed a third of all expenditures towards maintaining the army and the defense-industrial complex. This is the first time since the collapse of the USSR.

Earlier, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated that Russia's military expenditure budget for 2023 is around 6.6 trillion rubles (85.8 billion dollars). This corresponds to approximately 4.4% of Russia's GDP, compared to 3.6% in 2021 before the invasion of Ukraine.