Hundreds attend the funeral of a Ukrainian soldier who fought in the Battle of Andriivka
Ukrainian soldiers, family members and mourners gathered in Shostka, a small town in northeastern Ukraine, for the funeral of Andrii Grinchenko, a soldier who fought in the Battle of Andriivka near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. (AP Video/Vasilisa Stepanenko)
Russia must increase its military spending by up to 70 percent because of the “war unleashed against us,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, hundreds of flights were delayed at Moscow-area airports after Russian officials described a “massive cyberattack from abroad.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry published documents showing that defense spending could rise by more than 68% to $111.15 billion by 2024. That’s about 6% of Russia’s GDP and more than total spending on social programs, the Moscow Times said. Overall military spending is likely to be around three times as high as spending on education, environmental protection and health combined.
Russia’s central bank has warned that economic growth has slowed and inflation is rising above the bank’s target of 4%. But the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin say they remain committed to war and military spending at all costs.
“It is obvious that such an increase is absolutely necessary, because we are in a state of hybrid war that has been unleashed against us,” Peskov said.
The US tried to “cause panic”: Russia accuses the US of attacking a base in Crimea
∎ Russian artillery shelled a residential area of Kherson on Thursday, killing three women as they walked along a street, Interior Minister Igor Klimenko said.
∎ The Council of the European Union agreed to extend until March 2025 temporary protection for more than 4 million Ukrainian refugees who have fled to the EU since the start of the war.
∎ Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said in a tweet that he would be moved to a “solitary cell” for a year “due to my incorrigibility.” On Wednesday, Navalny’s appeal against a 19-year prison sentence on extremism charges was rejected.
∎ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps in Kiev and said he was “deeply grateful to the United Kingdom for all financial, humanitarian and military support,” including crucial long-range missiles.
∎ Russian missiles damaged a thermal power plant early Thursday and cut off power to hundreds of villages, Ukrenergo said. The company operates Ukraine’s high-voltage power lines.
Russia blamed a “massive cyber attack from abroad” for crashing its flight booking system and delaying hundreds of flights. Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot said the problem caused delays of up to an hour at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. Aeroflot subsidiary Rossiya Airlines reported similar delays.
Russian state-owned Rostec, which operates the system called Leonardo and is also a major arms supplier in Russia, later told Portal in a statement that the attack had been “successfully repelled.”
According to a Washington-based pollster, nearly 90% of people aged 16 to 35 living in Ukraine see the country’s future as hopeful, and even 81% of young Ukrainians who have moved to Poland are optimistic. Young people in Ukraine and Poland overwhelmingly believe Ukraine will win the war – 98% and 97%, respectively, according to the survey of more than 1,700 people by the International Republican Institute’s Center for Analysis and Sociological Research.
The survey also shows that despite the war, 65% of the age group still living in Ukraine have no interest in leaving the country.
NATO is currently finalizing more than $2.5 billion in ammunition contracts that will allow member states to replenish their depleted supplies and provide Ukraine with the firepower needed to drive invading Russian forces from the country said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday.
In a war that lasted more than 19 months and had no end in sight, replenishing ammunition supplies was a recurring problem for both sides. Stoltenberg said during an unannounced visit to Kiev that Ukraine was “gradually gaining ground” in the decisive counteroffensive that began more than three months ago. And he said Ukraine is “closer to NATO than ever before.”
Ukraine applied for fast-track NATO membership last year, but the alliance did not provide a timetable.
Zelensky described the talks as “extensive” and said he expected Ukraine to join the military alliance at some point. He said Stoltenberg had pledged to try to provide air defense systems as Russia targets Ukraine’s energy infrastructure this winter.
“We must get through this winter together to protect the infrastructure and lives of our people,” Zelensky said.