Putin set to double Russia’s defence spending to £80 billion

The Kremlin tyrant is expected to devote a third of his country’s public expenditure for 2023 to making weapons and running his military.

Economists believe this will lead to cuts in spending on areas including schools, hospitals and roads.

The figures – on top of the 50,000 Russian deaths reported – are expected to further undermine the country’s taste for war and ramp up pressure on Putin.

Dmitry Polevoy, of the Russian fund manager Locko-Invest, said: “The military industrial complex is enabling industrial growth, ‘civilian’ industries are slowing down.”

Evgeny Suvorov, an economist at Moscow’s Centro- Credit Bank, said: “We don’t know what the potential for a further increase in the output of tanks and missiles is. But we know that increasing this output even further is possible only at the expense of haemorrhaging more staff from other sectors of the economy.”

Meanwhile, Russia said it needed action rather than words before it would return to the Black Sea grain deal to guarantee safe passage for Ukraine’s exports. The Kremlin pulled out of the deal last month and launched air raids on Black Sea ports after demanding that trade embargoes against Russia are relaxed.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “If they want to contribute to fulfilling the part of the grain deal that is due to Russia, the Americans must fulfil it, not promise that they will think about it. As soon as this is done, this deal will immediately be renewed.”

He was speaking after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “In the event of a return to the agreement, we’ll continue to do whatever is necessary to make sure everyone can export their food- freely and safely to include Russia.”

The West has accused Russia of dropping the deal to use food supply as a weapon, causing shortages in poor countries and forcing up prices.

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