- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu wants to build up the combat capabilities of their missile systems and artillery
- He said the Russian Defense Ministry will focus on building nuclear weapon infrastructure in 2023
- Shoigu said funding for Russian defense is expected to increase by up to 150% next year
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is pushing to overhaul the military’s arsenal by manufacturing next-generation weapons amid the country’s ongoing “special military operation” in Ukraine.
During a ministerial board meeting Wednesday, Shoigu highlighted the need to upgrade Russian weapons and then deploy them in the war in Ukraine, The Moscow Times reported.
“We need to continue upgrading and creating advanced systems with their subsequent application in the special military operation,” Shoigu said.
The Russian defense chief did not say which innovative weapons systems he was referring to or give hints of a possible shift in Russia’s strategy in Ukraine.
But Shoigu noted that high-precision long-range weapons, drones and counter-battery warfare systems play a significant role in “effectively defeating the enemy.”
“Missile forces and artillery play a significant role in this,” he said. “Today we will discuss further steps to build up the combat capabilities of the missile forces and artillery, taking into account the experience gained.”
Shoigu also announced during the meeting that the defense ministry will focus on building nuclear weapons infrastructure next year.
He added that there would be a 150% increase in funding for Russia’s defense orders to ensure that the military would have consistent arms and equipment supplies.
Shoigu’s call for next-generation weapons came after an intelligence report claimed that Iran and Russia reached a deal to begin the production of attack drones earlier this month.
An unnamed source familiar with the assessment told CNN that Iran is set to transfer blueprints and drone components to Russia.
According to the source, Russia aims to start manufacturing thousands of new drones in a few months and deploy them on the battlefield in 2023.
In October, Russia reportedly used Iran’s Shahed-136 drones to attack major Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure. The Iranian drones proved effective and deadly after killing civilians and damaging properties.
Despite Russia’s denial that it used Iran-made drones in Ukraine, Tehran admitted that it delivered Shahed drones to Russia before the war started.
Russia is scrambling to upgrade and purchase more weapons after suffering significant setbacks on the battlefield.
Last month, Russia ordered its troops to withdraw from the Ukrainian city of Kherson, after senior officers assessed that it was impossible to defend their position amid the successful counter-offensives of the Ukrainian forces.
Since the invasion began on Feb. 24, Ukraine has destroyed thousands of Russian tanks, artillery systems, anti-aircraft warfare systems and cruise missiles, according to the latest tally of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.