The British Defence Ministry reported that Russia is set to dramatically increase its defence spending in 2024, a worrying sign Moscow is preparing to continue its fight in Ukraine for years to come.
Mentioning documents “apparently leaked from Russia’s Finance Ministry”, the UK’s MoD said in its latest intelligence update shared on X, formerly Twitter, that “Russia’s defence spending is set to surge to approximately 30 percent of total public expenditure in 2024.”.
The assessment continued: “The ministry proposes a defence budget of 10.8 trillion roubles, equivalent to approximately 6 percent of GDP and a 68 percent increase over 2023.”
Russia, Britain’s MoD believes, can bear the brunt of a similar level of defence spending through the next year, “but only at the expense of the wider economy”.
The assessment also warned such a dramatic demand on the wider economy signals the Kremlin wants its troops to remain on the Ukrainian battlefields for years.
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It read: “Full details on Russian defence spending are always classified, but these figures suggest that Russia is preparing for multiple further years of fighting in Ukraine.
“This follows public comments by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on 27 September 2023, suggesting he was prepared for the conflict to continue into 2025.”
Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February last year. Following a lightning advance on Kyiv, many Russian commentators expected Volodymyr Zelensky’s government and army to capitulate and concede defeat in just days.
But as Ukraine came together to resist Russia and the Western world provided military aid to Kyiv and economic sanctions against Moscow, the invasion turned into a long conflict.
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