RUSSIA, UKRAINE: Russia’s defence spending was up nearly 40% in the first four months of the year, according to preliminary data released by the finance ministry on Wednesday, almost three months into Moscow’s large-scale military campaign in Ukraine.
Russia spent 1.7 trillion roubles ($26.4 billion) on defence between January and April, almost half the 3.5 trillion roubles, or 2.6% of GDP, budgeted for all of 2022.
The ministry had initially forecast a budget surplus of 1% of GDP, or 1.3 trillion roubles, for 2022, but now expects a deficit of at least 1.6 trillion roubles, allowing for support payouts to counter the effect of an unprecedented barrage of Western economic sanctions.
In April alone, Russia spent 628 billion roubles ($9.7 billion) on its military, up 128% on April 2021, helping to tip the monthly state budget into deficit for the first time this year.
Meanwhile, On the roof of the world, Antonina Samoilova held up a blue and yellow panel emblazoned “Stand With Ukraine” while her father and brother were serving in the army defending their country against Russia’s invasion. The 33-year-old had tears in her eyes as she unfurled the Ukrainian flag on the summit of Mount Everest last week, she said on Wednesday after returning to Kathmandu. “I knew already before the expedition that I am the only Ukrainian on Everest this year. That made me push myself to go to the summit because I knew if it’s not me, then who?” she said. Samoilova was at the summit of Pico de Orizaba, Mexico’s highest mountain, in February when news of the Russian invasion reached her. Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement it was expelling 34 ‘employees of French diplomatic missions’ in Russia and gave them two weeks to leave the country
Moscow on May 18 kicked out diplomats from France, Italy and Spain in retaliation for the expulsion of Russian diplomats from European countries as part of a joint action against Russia’s campaign in Ukraine.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement it was expelling 34 “employees of French diplomatic missions” in Russia and gave them two weeks to leave the country.
– THE HINDUSTAN TIMES, THE HINDU