Moscow, Sept 28 (EFE).- Russia has decided to increase defense spending by two-thirds to deal with the Ukrainian counteroffensive. It is already negotiating with Iran the supply of long-range missiles, taking advantage of the fact that the UN resolution prohibiting such operations will soon expire.
The Russian Ministry of Finance informed today that it will increase by 67.65% the military expenditure item for 2024, which will amount to 10.8 trillion rubles (111.87 billion dollars).
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian President, Volodymir Zelensky, received the NATO Secretary General in Kyiv, Jens Stoltenberg, who stressed that Ukraine is “gaining ground” and “closer than ever” to the Atlantic Alliance.
The two-thirds increase on defense Defense spending in 2024 – last year it amounted to 6.5 trillion rubles ($66.73 billion) – will be among the highest in the Russian budget, second only to social policy, which Finance estimated at 20.7 trillion rubles ($214.02 billion).
“The structure of the budget shows that the main emphasis is on securing our victory” in Ukraine, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told the Moscow International Financial Forum.
The minister stressed that “defense capabilities, the Armed Forces, fighters – everything necessary for the front, everything necessary for victory is in the budget.”
“This puts a considerable burden on the budget, but it is our absolute priority,” he stressed.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also justified the growing military spending, noting that “it is necessary, as we continue in a state of hybrid warfare unleashed against us, (and) we continue the special military operation.”
“And that demands large expenditures,” he said in his daily telephone press conference.
Iranian Long-Range Missiles for Russia
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported today in its daily analysis that, according to Ukrainian and Israeli intelligence sources, Russia is negotiating with Iran the supply of long-range missiles, which would serve as a counter to the arrival of the ATACMS that U.S. President Joe Biden promised Zelenski last week.
Russia would be interested in Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar ballistic missiles with a range of 300 kilometers, but also in anti-missile systems, cruise, and anti-tank missiles, as well as drones, which it has been receiving since the beginning of the dispute with Ukraine.
The ISW highlights that on October 18, the UN resolution that prevented Tehran from exporting missiles with a range of more than 300 kilometers or missile technology under the 2015 nuclear agreement expires.
And he recalls that Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani already advanced earlier this month that Iran was ready to cooperate strategically and militarily “with all allied and independent countries.”
This issue was reportedly discussed with the Iranian regime during the visit to Tehran in mid-September by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who made a similar trip to North Korea in the summer.
ATACMS, which also have a range of about 300 kilometers, should arrive in Ukraine in the coming weeks. However, according to US media, Kyiv could receive modified models, which has not relieved the Kremlin.
Stoltenberg backs Kiev counteroffensive Meanwhile, in an explicit endorsement of the counteroffensive before the arrival of bad weather, Stoltenberg assured Kyiv that the Ukrainian forces “are advancing” and that “NATO will be with Ukraine for as long as necessary.”
“Every meter that Ukrainian forces regain is a meter that Russia loses,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenski during a surprise visit to Kyiv.
For his part, Zelenski insisted on the need to strengthen Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense to cope with imminent Russian attacks on energy infrastructures coinciding with the arrival of the harsh winter. EFE