Russian President Vladimir Putin has seemingly put his country on a war footing by telling businesses that they should be ready to switch production to military needs at any time.
Putin’s words come just the day after he said his nation should aim to overtake the West in terms of military technology.
Putin was speaking at a conference of military leaders in Sochi on Wednesday (22 November) at a time when western leaders have become more suspicious of a militarily resurgent Russia.
“The ability of our economy to increase military production and services at a given time is one of the most important aspects of military security,” Putin said according to The Independent.
“To this end, all strategic, and simply large-scale enterprise should be ready, regardless of ownership.”
Although Russian military spending remains at record levels, 3 trillion roubles, or 3.3 per cent of GDP this year, just under its spending last year, Putin said that Russia needs to aim to be better than the rest of the world.
“Our army and navy need to have the very best equipment — better than foreign equivalents,” he said, according to AFP. “If we want to win, we have to be better.”
Russia’s military has been modernised since the 2008 Georgian war and it has dumped outdated Soviet equipment used by its troops.
Over the next two years, the Kremlin will spend 2.8 per cent of GDP on defence, although this is still comparatively dwarfed by the Nato budget, which is more than three times larger, The Independent reported.
Part of Russia’s new arsenal is the Iskander-M, a new short-range ballistic missile that is nuclear capable and can reach hypersonic speeds.
Capable of striking Baltic countries and Poland, a report in Popular Mechanics noted that the Iskander-M has been designed to attack land targets with a reported 635kg warhead.
Russia has been criticised in recent years for its annexation of Ukraine and repeated military exercises and army build-up on Nato’s western border near the former Soviet states.
The nation was accused of violating the airspace of European countries, including the UK, and engaged in cyber espionage, hacking the governments of Denmark and Germany by British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday.
Although Russia has denied conducting any cyberattacks, May said: “I have a very simple message for Russia. We know what you are doing and you will not succeed.
“Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of western nations to the alliances that bind us.” (International Business Times)