Dire warning as Putin splurges another £96bn on Russian Armed Forces

Vladimir Putin’s decision to raise defence spending by 70 per cent shows that Western sanctions just aren’t working, experts said last night. The Russian leader has announced that he intends to spend 10,775 trillion rubles (£96bn) on defence next year, much of which will go to upgrade Soviet legacy weapons and missiles which Russia has been deploying against Ukrainian forces.

Last week foreign secretary Lord Cameron urged Nato counterparts to deliver more weapons to help Kyiv defeat Russian forces, and warned that Moscow should not be underestimated. Russia was targeted by a raft of sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine in 2021, which were supposed to cripple its manufacturing base.

But its economy has remained remarkably resilient, with inflation hovering at just 6 per cent – roughly that of the UK. More than 40 per cent of all Russian government spending is now going on defence, and less of that money is being lost to inflation than hoped by the west.

”Sanctions are supposed to alter and limit Russia’s decision-making capability, but Russia has been preparing for sanctions since 2014. The Kremlin knew what they wanted to do and so spent the years preparing the economy to weather the storm.

“Add to this the fact that Russia has one of the largest military industrial complexes in the world and is geared up to feed a war in a way which most Western countries aren’t.“ William Freer, of the Council on Geostrategy think tank, said: “This defence boost is about the fact that Putin is running out of Soviet-era weapons and munitions.

“And he is finding it frustratingly easy to bypass sanctions. We might look at how countries like Kurdistan and Uzbekistan have quintupled orders from Germany and Poland for an answer.”

Bill Browder, activist and former ceo of Russia’s largest investment portfolio, added: “The six per cent inflation figure should be treated with suspicion. But the real point is that, while many are trying to force President Zelensky to negotiate a peace deal with Russia, a country that hikes its defence spending by 70 per cent is not a country that it planning to negotiate.”

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