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MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is to increase annual spending on nuclear weapons by more than 50 percent in the next three years, a parliamentary defense committee said Tuesday.
In 2016, 46.26 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) is to be spent on Russia’s nuclear weapons systems, up from 29.29 billion rubles this year, according to the State Duma Defense Committee’s report on the draft federal budget for 2014-2016.
The draft federal budget provides for a 60 percent increase in overall national defense spending by 2016, according to the report, rising from 2.1 trillion rubles this year to 3.38 trillion rubles in 2016.
Defense spending in 2014 and 2015 will be 2.49 trillion rubles and 3.03 trillion rubles, respectively.
The government’s 2014 budget, which Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has described as “very harsh,” was submitted to the Duma last Monday. According to the budget, which also includes projections for 2015 and 2016, Russia is set to record a budget deficit of 391 billion rubles ($12 billion) in 2014, rising to 817 billion rubles ($25 billion) the following year.
Medvedev warned that budget cuts between 2014 and 2016 could amount to 5 percent in some areas. President Vladimir Putin has said that budget expenditure will have to be cut to take account of reduced growth forecasts, but that a sequester – a series of automatic budget cuts – is not on the table. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the budget would not mean any cuts in the Defense Ministry’s procurement plans.
Russia is currently in the midst of its biggest rearmament drive for a generation, part of a massive overhaul of the forces including a move toward all-professional services.
New nuclear weapons systems entering service include the navy’s Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile, the Kh-102 long-range cruise missile for the air force and new land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles for the Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN).
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The clash of Russian and Western interests has given rise to a geopolitical battle. German politicians are trying to leave all doors and windows open for dialogue with Russia. Moscow does acknowledge this, and Germany is probably the only country with which it is ready to discuss European security.