Russia appears to be preparing for 'multiple further years' of war in Ukraine as it plans major boost to defense spending, UK MoD says

  • Russia is planning to increase its defense spending by 30%, leaked documents show, per UK intel.

  • This suggests that Moscow is preparing for the war in Ukraine to carry on for years.

  • Observers believe that Russia is hoping Western support for Ukraine will wane.

Russia is planning to dramatically increase its defense spending, suggesting it is preparing for the war in Ukraine to carry on for years, the UK Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update on Sunday.

Moscow is planning to increase its defense spending by up to around 30% of total public expenditure in 2024, documents "apparently leaked" by Russia's Finance Ministry suggest.

The proposed budget of 10.8 trillion rubles marks a 68% increase from 2023, and would total approximately 6% of the country's GDP, the Ministry of Defence said, adding that the move would likely be "at the expense of the wider economy."

The move echoes recent comments made by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who said there was a plan to increase the supply of modern weapons to the military by 2025.

"We continue to build up the combat power of the Armed Forces, including through supplies of modern weapons and improving the training of troops taking into account the experience of a special military operation," Shoigu said, per Russian news agency Interfax.

Nina Khrushcheva, a professor of International Affairs at The New School in New York City, told the BBC that Putin is "not going to give up. He's not going to waver, he's not going to blink, he's not going to make concessions."

She said that the Russian president was "waiting it out" in the hope that Western support of Ukraine would waver.

The US and other Western allies have been supporting Ukraine throughout the conflict by sending crucial aid and weapons.

However, a number of politicians in the US, particularly in the Republican party, have been increasingly critical of the amount of spending on Ukraine.

There have been growing fears among European allies that if a hardline Republican candidate, such as current frontrunner Donald Trump, were to win the presidential election in 2024, aid to Ukraine would take a significant cut.

Trump has repeatedly said that if elected he would end the war within 24 hours — without elaborating on how he would do that. He has also been unclear about how much he would support Ukraine.

Michael McFaul, the former US Ambassador to Russia under President Barack Obama, said in August that Russian President Vladimir Putin was likely biding his time until after the election.

"Obviously, Putin is waiting for the outcome of the U.S. 2024 presidential election," he said. "If Trump is reelected, Putin has reason to believe that he could strike a much better deal on Ukraine."

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