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Russia to shell out $46 bln on defense spending in 2018

(TASS)– The 2018 year budget of the Russian Defense Ministry will total $46 bln, Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.”2.8% of GDP or $46 bln,” the minister said. The Pentagon’s budget for the next year will be over $700 bln, Shoigu noted for comparison.

Russia’s Defense Ministry plans to increase modern combat hardware’s share in troops to 61% in 2018, he said.

Putin said “it [the level of defense expenditures] will be 2.85-2.86% of GDP in the next year and it will be reduced further later on. The question arises: can we be self-sufficient in such conditions and with such capabilities, can we reliably and unconditionally support defense capability of our state? We can, we must, and we will do that.”

“The share of state-of-the-art equipment has grown four-fold since 2012, the pace of the development of the Armed Forces has increased by 15 times,” Shoigu said.

“In 2018, the Defense Ministry plans to increase the share of modern combat hardware in the Armed Forces to 61%,” Shoigu said.

According to the defense minister, modern combat hardware is expected to reach 82% in Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, 46% in the land troops, 74% in the Aerospace Force and 55% in the Navy.

Aerospace Force will receive S-400 Triumf air defense systems

The Russian Aerospace Force will receive 10 division sets of S-400 Triumf air defense systems in 2018, he said.

“To deliver 203 new modernized aircraft and helicopters, four Zenit division sets for Pantsir air defense missile and artillery systems and 10 division sets of S-400 Triumf air defense systems to the Aerospace Force and the Navy aviation the next year. To secure implementation of training combat duty tasks of the Unified Space System [EKS],” Shoigu said.

It is necessary to deliver 35 ships and logistics vessels to the Navy in 2018, Shoigu said.

In addition, there are plans to make 11 launching platforms for Yars ballistic missiles operational within the Russian Strategic Missile Force the next year, the Russian defense minister specified.

Russia’s Pantsyr-S missile and gun systems deployed to the Hmeymin airbase destroyed 16 unmanned aerial vehicles and 53 multiple rocket launcher munitions, he said.

“The Pantsyr-S systems, which have been made capable of intercepting rockets and hitting other small targets, destroyed 16 unmanned aerial vehicles and 53 multiple rocket launcher munitions,” he said.

NATO forces

The number of NATO forces deployed close to Russia’s borders has grown from 10,000 to 40,000 troops, he went on.

“The number of NATO’s contingents deployed to Russia’s western borders has grown three-fold since 2012. Four battalion tactical groups have been deployed to the Baltic region and Poland, an armored brigade of the US Army, the headquarters of NATO’s multinational divisions have been deployed to Poland and Romania. The number of the alliance’s forces has grown from 10,000 to 40,000 troops,” he said.

Russia expands aircraft patrol area and ship cruises due to NATO activity, he added.

“NATO has doubled the intensity of its military drills along our borders: in 2014, the Alliance conducted just 282 drills, and this year, as many as 548. More than 30 drills are annually carried out along Russia’s western borders, the scenario of which is based on armed confrontation from our side.

We are closely monitoring each NATO drill and take correspondent measures. We expanded the Long-Range Aviation patrol area and ship cruises for responding to threats and supporting the strategic balance,” he said.

Borei submarines

In the past five years, the Russian Defense Ministry received 80 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 102 ballistic missiles for submarines and three Borei-class ballistic missile submarines, he said.

“In the past five years, the Armed Forces received 80 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 102 ballistic missiles for submarines, three Borei-class ballistic missile submarines, 55 space vehicles, 3,237 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, as well as over 1,000 aircraft and helicopters, 150 vessels, six submarines and 12 Bal and Bastion coastal missile complexes,” Shoigu said.

“The Strategic Missile Forces will put into operation 11 launchers of Yars mobile missile systems. The first Project 955A Knyaz Vladimir nuclear submarine, armed with Bulava ballistic missiles, will join the Navy,” he said.

“In conformity with your instruction, we will ensure permanent presence of Russian warships and submarines equipped with long-range high precision weapons in the Mediterranean,” he said at Putin’s meeting with the defense ministry’s top officials and commanders of troops in military districts and the Northern Fleet.

Troops in Syria

“Your order to withdraw the Russian taskforce from Syria has been implemented,” Shoigu told Putin.

More than 48,000 Russian military servicemen have gained invaluable experience in Syria, he said.

“More than 48,000 Russian military servicemen have gained invaluable experience in Syria. Of these, over 14,000 were decorated with state awards,” Shoigu said.

“There wasn’t any fact of violations of security zones of Russian bases in Tartus and Hmeymim,” Shoigu said.

The defense minister said Russia’s air group at the Hmeymim base and the Tartus naval facility are operating at full capacity.

“Modern military and social infrastructure has been created there, this allows maintaining strategic stability in the region and preventing possible incursions of terror groups in Syria,” he said.

“During the Syrian operation, most kinds of our military equipment were tested, including 215 kinds of weapons. As many as 702 faults were identified during military activities, 99% of which have already been corrected,” he said.

“We are grateful to people from our defense industry for their promptness,” the Russian defense minister noted.

“A total of 60,318 militants, 819 ringleaders and 2,840 gunmen originating from Russia have been eliminated in the course of the operation in Syria,” Shoigu said.

On December 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Hmeymim air base in Syria and ordered the Russian Defense Ministry to begin the withdrawal of troops from the country.
Over 1,000 troops in Arctic

Russia’s Defense Ministry has deployed over 1,000 troops on Arctic islands, he said.

“Over 1,000 servicemen have been deployed on the Kotelny and Wrangle Islands and Cape Schmidt,” the defense minister said.


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