Ukraine invasion made Russia's military 'significantly weaker' despite its defense budget doubling in the past 20 years, UK says

russian tank destroyed mariupol
n abandoned damaged Russian tank in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 13, 2022.Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Russian defense expenditure has grown significantly over the years, the UK said.

  • But the invasion of Ukraine has made the Russian military "significantly weaker," it said.

  • Russia's military is falling short in Ukraine, with reports describing low morale and elite troop losses.

The invasion of Ukraine has made Russia's military "significantly weaker" despite its defense budget doubling in the past 20 years, the UK said Tuesday.

"Russia's military is now significantly weakened, both materially and conceptually, as a result of its invasion of Ukraine," the British Ministry of Defence tweeted in its daily intelligence report on Russia's invasion.

"Recovering from this will be exacerbated by sanctions. This will have a lasting impact on Russia's ability to deploy conventional military force," it said.

The ministry added that while Russia's defense budget had doubled from 2005 to 2018 — with major investments made in air, land, and sea capabilities — its new equipment has not helped it to "dominate Ukraine."

In 2008, Russia's then-defense minister, Anatoliy Serdyukov, announced a major structural reorganization of the country's armed forces, calling it the New Look military modernization process.

The reorganization came after Russia's weeklong war with Georgia that same year showed that its military still lacked operational capacities, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

But since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, multiple reports have described how Russian forces were still falling short in the face of staunch Ukrainian resistance.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, told the Ukrainian news outlet The New Voice of Ukraine on Monday: "All they spent money on was to show the greatness of the Russian army in the world. Now we have seen that there is no greatness at all."

Ukraine's defense ministry also said last month that Russia was failing to recruit new troops because potential conscripts were too afraid of dying in battle.

Budanov, the intelligence chief, suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin could officially declare war on May 9 as a way to prepare for mass mobilization.

Putin is under pressure to demonstrate he can show a victory by May 9, a Russian holiday that commemorates the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 and is usually marked with a military parade in front of the Kremlin.

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