Russia has committed more than 30 per cent of its entire budget across defence, security and law enforcement, British defence chiefs have said.
In its latest intelligence update on Sunday, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Vladimir Putin has pledged more than 9 trillion rubles (£116 billion) to help fortify his nation’s defences in Ukraine in 2023.
The MoD adds that this amount is a “significant” increase compared with previous years and will represent “more than 30 per cent of Russia’s entire budget”.
The MoD said: “On 5 December 2022, President Putin signed the law on Russia’s Federal Budget. Draft budgets have stated over 9 trillion rubles (US $143bn) will be allocated across defence, security and law enforcement in 2023.
“This is a significant increase compared to prior years and will represent over 30 per cent of Russia’s entire budget.”
They added: “The budget approved by Putin is likely over-optimistic in its expectation of revenue and spending in 2023. Therefore, other parts of Russia’s budget are likely to come under increasing pressure to support the costs of the war.”
It comes after British intelligence officials warned that Iran and Russia have deepened their military alliance and are working on building joint drone production lines.
The MoD said that the Kremlin was now reliant on Iran to top up its supplies of missiles and drones.
“Iran’s support to the Russian military is likely to grow in the coming months: Russia is attempting to obtain more weapons, including hundreds of ballistic missiles,” it said.
The US has said that Iran is now “Russia’s top military backer”.
“Russia is seeking to collaborate with Iran in areas like weapons development training,” said John Kirby of the US national security council, adding that Russia intended to “provide Iran with advanced military components” including helicopters and air defence systems.
Russia has so far relied on Iranian drones to bolster its dwindling supplies of missiles after nearly nine months of war and has been deploying them to destroy power stations and other civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.
Iranian drones, such as the the Shahed-136, are cheap to produce, and have a long range.
Russian technicians have repainted them as Geranium-2 to try to disguise them and Iran has denied supplying Russia but testimonies and reports from Ukraine have confirmed the deals.
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