The U.N. Security Council voted on Friday to cut nearly $4.5 billion from the U.K. and France’s defense budgets by 2021, in a bid to boost spending on diplomacy and defense amid Russia’s annexation of Crimea and other international tensions.
The cuts, to be announced by Britain’s defense secretary, are likely to cause consternation at the U., but could help Britain’s economy rebound from the economic crisis and its recent decision to exit the European Union.
S., France cut defense budget by $4B over 20 years.
https://t.co/yT1yE8hJq5 pic.twitter.com/eQs1mVjx2c — The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 20, 2021 The British government has argued that the cuts are necessary to ensure that the country can afford to protect its borders and defend itself against any potential Russian aggression.
“It is clear that the current level of spending will be unsustainable for the foreseeable future, and we will have to reduce it over the coming years to ensure we can continue to protect our interests,” Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told Parliament.
The U, French and other European nations have been struggling to cut spending amid a series of security and economic challenges.
Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, the conflict in Syria and tensions in eastern Ukraine have also contributed to a shrinking military.
The United States is already cutting its defense budget to below its 2% of gross domestic product.
The defense cuts are likely not only to put the United States and its allies at risk of economic collapse but also will affect its own ability to respond to future crises.
Russia also has plans to add hundreds of thousands of troops to its military.
U., French and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that they will spend 2% on defense over the next decade.
Upholding national sovereignty in the Balkans is also a priority for the new administration.
“This is the first step towards our shared goals,” French President Emmanuel Macron said during a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We must always be clear: a unified Europe is better for all of us.”
A spokeswoman for the German government said the government has decided to cut the military budget by 6% over the same period.
Defense Secretary says the U, France and German governments are making a commitment to reduce military spending in 2021.
https:/twitter.coop.com/?q=%23defense_funding&utm_term=news_details&utm=%3A%22NEWS%22&utmref=share#share#tb_hb_vbvjm — The New York Times (@nytimes) March 21, 2021 France and Germany will be the first European countries to take such a step, said Emmanuel Gide, a defense analyst at the London School of Economics.
The Pentagon has not set a timeline for when the cuts will be implemented.
The military spending cuts will also hurt the U.’s ability to defend its allies in the Mediterranean, Gide said.
“They’re putting a lot of pressure on us, especially on France,” Gide told CNN.
“France is a big naval power, and the U has a lot more assets in the eastern Mediterranean.”
Russia has responded by threatening to escalate its military activity in the region.
“In a couple of weeks, Russia will go into the eastern sea, they will have a massive invasion force, and they will do a lot,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday.
“I will call on all NATO members to protect their territorial waters.”
Russian President Medvedov also warned that NATO member states would be “on notice” if they did not take steps to protect Europe from “Russian aggression.” https://twitter.cnn.com/_johnny_flynn_&ref=profile&,&gt;johnnyflynn&%;amp;lt;/twitter/johnny/status/619010553260581640 — The Associated Press (@AP) March 22, 2021 A spokesman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the idea of a military buildup, saying that the Russian Defense Ministry was not preparing any military buildups.
“No military build-up has been ordered by the Defense Ministry, as such, we don’t have plans for any,” Dmitry Peskov said.
Russia has not announced plans to send ground troops into the Baltics in the wake of the NATO-led sanctions over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that it would work with its NATO allies to defend their borders against any threat from “a dangerous aggressor.”
But NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the alliance must respond to Russian aggression with increased military spending, including the deployment of a naval fleet to the Black Sea.
The NATO military alliance will continue to spend 2%, the highest in the world, Stolstenberg