Russia lost as many tanks in the war in Ukraine as the total number of tanks in active service in its armed forces before Vladimir Putin launched his invasion, according to a leading think tank.
More than 3,000 tanks were damaged or destroyed in two years of fighting after Moscow failed in its first blitzkrieg to capture the capital, kyiv.
To close the deficit, the Russian military has resupplied the front line from its strategic armor reserves while urgently increasing its defense spending and putting its economy on a war footing, the analysis shows. International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
Ukraine, on the other hand, has had to rely heavily on Western weapons to make up for its own losses, with its citizen army having to quickly learn combat skills while engaged in combat.
Using American and European weapons, as well as those being developed at home, the Ukrainians struck back deep behind enemy lines in Russia and also damaged the capabilities of Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet based in Crimea.
The rush by NATO member states to increase their military budgets to help Ukraine, as well as to prepare their defenses to face possible future Russian aggression, has led to a significant increase in arms spending.
The Gaza war and the armed confrontation in the Middle East, China’s saber-rattling in the Indo-Pacific, the conflicts in Central Asia, notably the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the attacks of Military states in West Africa have given additional impetus to arms sales.
Global arms spending rose 9 percent to a record $2.2 trillion, with non-NATO states increasing their budgets by 32 percent on average, the IISS says in its annual report Millitary Balance.
China and Russia have increased their military budgets by 30% and Iran’s booming arms industry is clearly visible with domestically supplied drones used by Russia in Ukraine and Houthi anti-ship missiles in the sea Red.
Defense budgets have been in focus this week after Donald Trump said he would “encourage” Russia to attack any NATO member states that do not spend enough on their forces within the Alliance .
Speaking at a campaign rally, Mr. Trump claimed that he had told a European leader that he would tell Moscow to “do whatever it wants” to countries that were not paying their bills.
The White House condemned the comments as “appalling and unbalanced.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said any suggestion that “allies will not defend each other would compromise our security”, putting Alliance soldiers at risk.
The aspiration for a world without nuclear arsenals is fading with China’s addition of missile silos and the United States’ modernization of nuclear warheads and delivery systems, the report said.
There has been increased interest in a wide range of weapons such as artillery and air defense, alongside momentum for new technologies including hypersonic missiles and cruise missiles.
The IISS said that “Military Balance 2024 highlights how the world has entered a more dangerous period over the past twelve months, how increased tensions and conflicts have reshaped the global defense industrial landscape. Our new data shows how countries are reshaping their capital and spending plans and how their regional ties are evolving based on geopolitical reality.
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