NEWSWATCH: “Starving Wolf No Longer: Can Russia Sustain Its Military? Russia is having to balance its demand for more advanced weapons with a slew of other priorities” – Moscow Times/Michael Kofman

Russian Soldiers Marching

“… the military … will probably continue operations [in Syria]. … [and] continue to fuel its other major conflict, Ukraine … supporting proxy forces in breakaway republics in the … east. But … Russia’s … Armed Forces are at a crossroads. Divergent spending priorities, resource constraints and myriad dilemmas loom …. * * * The Armed Forces may expand, but … are visibly struggling to increase the number of contract servicemen. … a busy regimen of training exercises and readiness also factors into costs. The Armed Forces are more operational today than … since the collapse of the Soviet Union. … sustainment costs and expenses … steadily eat into the budget. … [but] spending on healthcare, pensions and education threatens to displace defense spending as a national priority. After the March election, Moscow will have to reconcile social and defense spending priorities, making hard choices about the kind of military it wants to field into the 2020s.”

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