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Putin calls for big increase in armaments production

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for a significant increase in the pace of arms production, over two years into the war against Ukraine.

“We must double and triple our efforts in this direction,” he said on Wednesday at a meeting with representatives of the defence industry.

Only by introducing state-of-the-art weapons systems as quickly as possible could Russia succeed in staying one step ahead of Ukraine in the war, he said.

He also justified the appointment of Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov as the new defence minister, saying there was a need for innovation and efficient management.

Putin said that Russia spends just over 8.7% of its gross domestic product on military and security. “That is a large budget. And we are obliged to use it carefully and effectively,” he said.

The 65-year-old Belousov has the task of integrating the economic sectors that are important for security and the military into the overall economy, Putin said.

At the same time, the Kremlin leader thanked former Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who was also present, for the restructuring of the army in recent years.

“Many things were not clear to us or to those involved in building up the armed forces before the start of hostilities,” but Shoigu had managed to organize the army so that it was able to meet the demands of the times, he said. As secretary of the National Security Council, Shoigu will also be responsible for armaments issues in future.

Experts believe Putin also replaced his close confidant as defence minister because he was dissatisfied with the progress made by the Russian army in the war against Ukraine. The recent bribery scandals surrounding Shoigu are evidence of the increasing weakening of the politician’s position, they say.

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