Russia’s secret spending reaches $110 billion as the Kremlin continues to hide the costs of its war in Ukraine

Russia’s secret spending reaches 0 billion as the Kremlin continues to hide the costs of its war in Ukraine

Russia’s 2023 planned spending proposal showed roughly a quarter of its budget would be earmarked for an unknown use, according to a Bloomberg report, continuing the Kremlin’s trend of obscuring economic data as the war in Ukraine drags on.

The budget plan included about 6.5 trillion rubles, or about $112 billion, in classified or unspecified allocations, according to Bloomberg calculations. The total budget is about 29 trillion rubles.

The Kremlin has increasingly veiled its spending and monetary measures since the February invasion, and has stopped releasing economic details such as trade breakdowns.

“Right now we have concluded a lot of things,” Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said during an online media session on Wednesday, adding that the cost of the “special operation” in Ukraine would remain hidden.

According to The Audit Chamber, a budget watchdog group, Moscow spent around 19% on classified items of its budget. Last year, according to Russian media cited by Bloomberg, it was at a record low of 14.9%.

What is revealed in the budget, however, is an increase in military spending. If the proposal is implemented, defense spending would rise 43% more than expected.

Meanwhile, officials announced this week that Russia is formally annexing four Ukrainian regions, with President Vladimir Putin scheduled to hold a formal ceremony on Friday. The secret spending portions of the budget plan could explain some of the maneuvering in the annexation process.

All regions – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia – make up about 15% of Ukraine’s territory, according to Reuters. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the US will never recognize the annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia.

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“We are ready and will impose further serious and swift costs on Russia for continuing the annexation,” Blinken said.

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