Putin’s war in Ukraine spiraled cost as the defense budget jumped to 282% in January 2023

Russia’s defence spending jumped 282% to $26 billion in Jan-Feb budget data. Russia spent 2 trillion roubles ($26 billion) on defence in January and February alone, a 282% jump on the same period a year ago, data on the budget portal showed, illustrating the spiralling costs for Moscow of its conflict in Ukraine.

Rising military production and huge state spending are keeping Russia’s industry buzzing along, helping soften the economic impact of Western sanctions.

In the first two months of 2022, 525.4 billion roubles of budgetary funds were spent on “national defence”. Russia launched what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year.

The data, published on the Federal Treasury’s online budget portal, gives specific insight into military expenditure. The finance ministry stopped publishing individual monthly budget fulfilment data last May, but has now added data for 2022 and the start of this year to the portal.

According to the new data, defence spending amounted to 1.18 trillion roubles in January and 822.4 billion roubles in February.

Russia’s 2023 spending plan envisages 4.98 trillion roubles of expenditure on defence. The data shows the country spent just over 40% of its planned annual allocation for the defence sector in Jan-Feb.

Data published last week showed that Russia’s budget deficit stood at 3.4 trillion roubles for January to April, compared with a 1.2-trillion-rouble surplus in 2022, as Moscow has spent heavily and energy revenues have dropped.

Last year, Russia spent 5.51 trillion roubles, or 17.1% of its total expenditure on defence, up from 3.57 trillion roubles, or 14.4%, in 2021.

In January-February 2023, national defence spending was 36.2% of the total budget expenditure, nearly double the amount spent on social policy and almost four times more than spending on the “national economy”.

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