How Russian occupants mask products of confiscated factories in Berdyansk and Melitopol

Sausages of Berdyansk meat factory in Simferopol supermarket. Photo:

Crimean occupation authorities reported that almost half a ton of food products has been brought from occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions to Crimea within the first week of June. «New Russian regions» supply milk and meat products to inhabitant of the Crimean peninsula, as proudly declare Russian propagandists. 

Products of Ukrainian enterprises in Zaporizhzhia region confiscated by Russian occupants are now sold in Crimean shops. Russian troops used refrigerators of one Zaporizhzhia factory as morgue for bodies of dead Russian soldiers. Later this factory has been «demilitarized» and now it manufactures sausages with false information on its labels. 

The photo above has been made in the supermarket of «Fresh» network in Simferopol. Products of Berdyansk meat factory are now sold along with meat products produced by Russian factories. 

Inscriptions on labels are in Russian language. The address of the factory refers to Zaporizhzhia region but does not indicate the country. The sausages were produced in May 2023. The barcode starts with «290» numbers and it means that these sausages may not be openly sold! Barcodes from «290» to «299» mark products only for internal consumption by the producing factory.

Sausages of Berdyansk meat factory in Simferopol supermarket. Photo:

We found and analyzed products of Berdyansk meat factory in another Simferopol shop. Front side of the label tells us that it has been printed before the Russian occupation of Berdyansk. Back side of the label is the label in Russian imposed on Ukrainian original. These sausages were produced in May 2023. Back side of the label should contain information about date of production, producing company, address of production facilities and barcode of the country where the product was produced.

Sausages of Berdyansk meat factory from Simferopol shop. Photo:

In this case, we see the following barcode: 4?20165401186. It is difficult to discern the second digit. As it is known, first 2-3 digits of the barcode indicate the country where the product was produced. It is kind of «barcode flag» of the country. 

In our case, Russia is not indicated as the country of origin. Though, Russia treats Berdyansk as the Russian city. In accordance with European standard adopted by Russia, first three digits of Russian barcode should be within the range 460-469.

What we see on the label is barcode 4820165401186 where 482 is the official code of Ukraine!

If we compare «Ukrainian» and «Russian» labels of Berdyansk sausages, we can easily uncover that they are almost identical. The only difference is the second digit, which can be hardly read. However, it is likely to be digit «8». We can assume that such a mistake was not made by chance. It is likely to be made «for purpose».

«Russian» label on the «Ukrainian» label of sausage produced by Berdyansk meat factory and sold in Simferopol shop. Photo:

The Russian mass media reported in June 2022 that Berdyansk meat factory supplied its products to all «liberated Ukrainian territories» and entered the market of southern regions of the Russian Federation. Russian propagandists called Berdyansk meat factory an «example of transferring Ukrainian enterprises under Russian jurisdiction». They pretended that the work of the factory has not stopped and employees received salary. 

New «managers» of Berdyansk meat factory, Gennadii Babayan and Sergii Putria, have collaborated with occupants since first days of the Russian occupation. Their activity has been investigated by the Center for Journalist Investigations. 

After Russian full scale invasion into Ukraine, head of Berdyansk wrestling federation Gennadii Babayan seized Berdyansk meat factory. Before the Russian invasion, Sergii Putria has been elected several times as member of Berdyansk City Council and member of Zaporizhzhia region council from pro-Russian political party «Opposition Block». After Russian invasion, Putria became the deputy of Babayan and has been personally «blessed» by Russian «governor» of Zaporizhzhia region Yevhen Balytsky. 

Together with Berdyansk sausages, products of Melitopol meat factory are also sold in Simferopol shops. They were produced recently, in May 2023. As the seller told, people like to buy Melitopol sausages. Crimean buyers do not care about inscriptions in Ukrainian language on the label and Ukrainian address of the production facilities – Heroes of Ukraine street, 175. It should be noted that Russian occupants replaced this name of the street with the Soviet one (Kirov street – honoring the accomplice of Josef Stalin) in April 2023. They renamed over 50 streets of Melitopol. 

Sausage of Melitopol meat factory in the Simferopol shop. Photo:

JSC «Melitopol meat factory» is one of the largest meat manufacturers of Ukraine. Before the Russian occupation, the factory had large statutory capital (almost 160 million UAH). There were nine large shareholders – legal entities, with almost identical set of final beneficiaries with large land banks. The holding also covered JSC «Agroindustrial complex» (pork and poultry), «Nesteryanska ptakhofabryka» (poultry), networks of retailers «MMK» and «Trading House «Vakula», transport company «Melavtotrans» etc. 

Melitopol meat factory has been confiscated like many other Ukrainian factories on occupied territories. In May 2022, «Kadyrov people» came to the factory, as reported former employees of the factory. Later the Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine reported that Russian occupation authorities turned the factory into the morgue. Bodies of Russian soldiers, killed near cities of Polohy and Gulaipole, were brought to the factory and stored in its refrigerators. 

In November 2022, Russian occupants registered JSC «Melitopolski myasokombinat» (MMK) in the Russian State Register of Legal Entities. Its founders and shareholders are not disclosed. Its legal address coincides with legal address of the Ukrainian factory (Kirov street, 175). Chaniev Alim Serverovych has been indicated as «manager» of the «Russian factory» since its registration in the Russian register. 

Collaborator Alim Chaniev, photo: screenshot from YouTube video

The Ukrainian State Register of Legal Entities contains data about person with this name as the owner of two Ukrainian LLC «Zilber» and «Imperia transportu» [Empire of transport]. The last company has the same legal address as «Melitopol meat factory». It seems that, before the Russian occupation, Chaniev has been involved into transportation of grain by trucks. 

In February 2023, Russian «military civic administration» of Zaporizhzhia region declared the property of «Melitopol meat factory» as abandoned or unowned. Then, LLC «Melitopolskii myasokombinat» has been registered in the Russian State Register at the same legal address. Gorbunov Yaroslav Yuriyovich has been indicated as the director and founder of this Russian company with the statutory capital of 10 thousand Rubles. 

Information about this person is scarce. He obtained Russian taxpayer’s code in Rostov region of Russia. In 2020, entrepreneur Gorbunov Yaroslav Yuriyovich has been mentioned in the schedule of anti-fire inspections of the so-called «DNR». His car repairing shop has been located in Donetsk at Kuprina street, 119b. In November 2022, he has been appointed as the director of state enterprise of «DNR» called «ATP Soveta ministrov» [transport company of the Council of Ministries]. 

Another story is about sunflower oil produced by company «Olis» confiscated by Russian occupants in Zaporizhzhia region. This bottled oil is sold in shops of «Yabluko» network in Simferopol. According to labels, it has been produced in April 2023. The label is in Ukrainian language. Data about producer, legal address in Zaporizhzhia, address of production facilities in Vasylivka coincides with the data of Ukrainian LLC «Firma «Olis LTD». 

«For one year, we have not had an access to our factory in Vasylivka. We do not know whether the factory works and who manages the factory. «Olis» submitted an application to Ukrainian law enforcement bodies about illegal seizure of the company», as told us Iryna Zolotarevska, the legitimate director of LLC «Firma «Olis LTD». 

At the beginning of February 2023, occupation «Ministry of property relations» of Zaporizhzhia region declared the property of «Olis» as abandoned and published detailed list of its property – from land plots to reservoirs for oil storage. 

We were not able to find information about registration of seized company in the Russian State Register of Legal Entities. 

Р.S. Berdyansk sausage, bought by the CJI in «Fresh» supermarket, turned out to be spoiled. Though, expiry date is the end of July 2023. We do not know what happened – technological requirements were not met? The raw materials were of inadequate quality? Or logistics failed? 

One conclusion is clear. After Ukrainian destruction of Chongar bridges, it became far more difficult to bring food products from companies stolen by Russians from their legitimate owners in «new Russian regions» to Crimea. 

Spoiled sausage of Berdyansk meat factory in Simferopol supermarket. Photo: