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US intelligence: Putin spends record amounts on military over 'paranoid fear' of West limiting Russia's power

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 3, 2024 3:12 PM 2 min read
Director of U.S. National Intelligence Avril Haines speaks during a hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 4, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin's "paranoid fear" of the West seeking to limit Russia's power has led him to spend historically record amounts on militarization, Director of U.S. National Intelligence Avril Haines said on May 2, according to Voice of America.

The Kremlin has increased defense spending to nearly 7% of Russia's GDP, almost double the historical average. Russia's defense budget accounts for roughly 25% of all federal spending as of now, considering the U.S. National Intelligence calculations.

"Putin continues to believe that Russia is under threat and almost certainly assumes that a larger, better-equipped military will convey that opinion to Western and domestic audiences," Haines said during the hearing in Congress.

The Russian president continues to perceive NATO's expansion and Western assistance for Ukraine as "the U.S. and Europe trying to limit Russia's power," according to Haines.

Putin is assured that the current domestic and international events are benefiting him, while he is trying to take advantage of the conflict between Israel and Hamas to divide the Western allies as well, the U.S. National Intelligence chief added.

Haines also assumed that Moscow is likely to continue its "increasingly aggressive tactics" against Ukraine, including attacks on energy infrastructure, and the all-out war is unlikely to end "anytime soon."

Moscow attacked Ukraine with over 3,2000 guided aerial bombs, nearly 300 Shahed-type drones, and over 300 missiles in April alone, President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

NATO accuses Russia of conducting hybrid attacks inside alliance territory
NATO released a statement condemning Russian “hybrid actions” after multiple individuals were accused of working on behalf of Russia from within NATO territory.
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