MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s defence spending will grow by 27 percent in 2009, Interfax news agency quoted Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as saying on Tuesday.
“Nearly 2.4 trillion roubles ($94.12 billion) will be allocated for the needs of national defence and security (in 2009),” Interfax quoted Putin as saying. “This is an increase of 27 percent.”
In a brief war last month, Russia crushed an attempt by pro-Western neighbor Georgia to retake South Ossetia, a breakaway region closely tied to Moscow.
President Dmitry Medvedev and Putin have said the military operation, condemned by the West as disproportionate, has shown the armed forces needed a major modernization of their weapons and hardware.
Putin made his announcement on the day when Russian stocks plunged more than 10 percent to two-year lows, driven by turmoil on international markets and domestic concerns including the war in Georgia.
Writing by Oleg Shchedrov; Editing by Christian Lowe