Russia hikes defense budget to $46 billion

Sept. 13, 2008 at 8:36 AM

MOSCOW, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The conflict with Georgia has prompted Russia to boost its military budget for 2009 to a record $46.8 billion, analysts said.

The sum is $6.6 billion higher than this year's defense spending totals and will be considered by country's lower house of Parliament, the State Duma, next week, RIA Novosti reported Saturday.

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said the increase in weapons spending was needed "to implement decrees made by the president and prime minister, and obviously inflation."

But Russian military analysts told the news service the higher figure was determined in the wake of last month's conflict with Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which Russia has recognized as an independent state.

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