Russia to cut defence spending by 5%

Economic concerns hamper Putin’s military build-up...

Russia is set to reduce its defence budget by 5% in 2016. The cut was announced by Deputy Defence Minister Tatiana Shevstova and marks the country’s biggest reduction in military spending since President Vladimir Putin (pictured) came to power in 2000.

It follows pressure from Russia’s finance ministry to ease spending on defence, with the department arguing that the country could not afford its proposed mulit-billion dollar revamp of its armed forces in the current climate.

The reduced spending will impact Putin’s 2011 proposal, when he was then-prime minister, to bolster Russia’s army and equipment by pumping 23 trillion ruble (approximately €292 billion) into defence by 2020. In recent years, Russia has started to make its military might felt once again, with involvement in Ukraine and Syria.

It was revealed over the weekend that The Pentagon is considering moving US Army brigade combat teams to Europe in an attempt to shore up allied defences against Russia.

The Russian economy contracted 3.7% in 2015, with a further 1% decline expected for this year.