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Vladimir Putin on the Ukraine war: “Russia is a great power again”

Vladimir Putin on the Ukraine war: “Russia is a great power again”

After almost two years of war in Ukraine, Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin is once again calling Russia a “great power.” Meanwhile, the Ukrainian president approves a new state budget. An overview.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has signed the 2024 state budget of the country aspiring to join the EU and NATO, with billions spent on armaments. The defense budget of the equivalent of more than 40 billion euros accounts for around half of the total budget expenditure.

“It is obvious that protection against Russian aggression is a priority,” said Zelensky in his video message broadcast in Kiev on Tuesday evening. At the same time, he emphasized that the leadership will also take into account the “social needs of our people and fulfill the country’s social obligations.”

Zelenskyj seals defense spending for 2024

Despite the war, it is important that citizens are supported by the state, said Zelensky. According to the budget, defense spending clearly has priority. For example, to defend against the Russian war of aggression, 43 billion hryvnias (1.08 billion euros) are earmarked for the production of drones and the same amount for the production of ammunition and weapons, according to the budget published on the parliamentary website.

The expenses for this will come from own income from taxes, customs duties and dividends from state-owned companies as well as from privatizations, as media in Kiev reported. As was the case this year, around half of the estimated total budget expenditure of around 84.08 billion euros will be financed by taking on debt. The country, which has been economically weakened by the war, is expecting revenue of the equivalent of around 44.37 billion euros in the coming year, almost all of which will be spent on defense.

For comparison: Russia plans to increase its military budget to almost a third of the total budget as part of its war of aggression against neighboring Ukraine. The 2024 defense budget will rise to 10.8 trillion rubles (about 111 billion euros), almost three times Ukrainian spending. Overall, Russian budget spending next year is planned to amount to 36.7 trillion rubles (376 billion euros).

Ukraine remains dependent on Western support

According to Ukrainian media, the budget for 2024 also provides for an increase in the minimum wage from the equivalent of 170 euros to up to 200 euros per month. At the same time, the country is expecting like this year economic growth of around 4.6 percent.

However, since the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022, the Ukrainian state budget has been more dependent on Western support than ever before. The 2023 budget was financed from abroad with the equivalent of a good 38 billion euros. This corresponds to around 60 percent of the total budget.

The EU announced that it would provide a further 194 million euros to equip and train Ukrainian soldiers. The financial injection is intended to help EU states deliver the necessary materials, as the EU countries announced on Tuesday. The money flows as part of the EU training mission EUMAM. According to information, more than 34,000 soldiers have already been trained within this program. The EU training mission was decided by the foreign ministers of the member states last year.

Vladimir Putin: “We have become stronger”

After his almost two-year-long attack on Ukraine, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin sees Russia as a “great power” on the world stage again, in his own words. “We have become stronger,” Putin said on Tuesday. He also highlighted Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territories, which was internationally condemned as a breach of international law, as a success. Modern Russia has regained and consolidated “its sovereignty as a world power,” Putin said.

In contrast, the West, which imposed sanctions on Russia during the war, sees Russia as economically weakened and isolated on the international stage. Ukraine, which was attacked by Russia, criticizes the country as a “terrorist state” that wants to impose a dictatorship on other peoples striving for freedom. Putin brought death and destruction to the neighboring country with his war, which he started on February 24, 2022.

What is important today

The foreign ministers of the NATO states meet in Brussels for talks with their Ukrainian colleague Dmytro Kuleba. The discussions at the defense alliance’s headquarters will, among other things, focus on the situation at the front and Ukraine’s need for support. Ukraine’s plans to adapt its security sector to NATO standards are also an issue.

For the first time, the consultations will be organized at the level of foreign ministers in the format of the new NATO-Ukraine Council. The body is intended to enable closer cooperation until the conditions for Ukraine to join NATO are met. The NATO-Ukraine Council met for the first time at the level of heads of state and government in July at the NATO summit in Lithuania. There has also been one meeting at the level of defense ministers and several at the level of NATO ambassadors.

Source: Stern

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