Russia’s military is now more capable than at any time since the end of the Cold War, a development that comes as Western nations are increasingly concerned about President Vladimir Putin’s role in election meddling and conflicts from Ukraine to Syria, according to a new report.
After more than a decade of investment and reform, Russia’s troops are better equipped and more professional than their predecessors, according to “Russia’s Military Modernization: An Assessment,” a report published on Wednesday by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“Russia’s armed forces are today a capable military tool that Moscow has demonstrated a willingness to use or to threaten the use of,” according to the report.
Since 2014, Russia has annexed Crimea, engaged in protracted fighting in eastern Ukraine, and intervened in the Syrian civil war. In July, the Kremlin publicly welcomed the Trump administration’s plans to withdraw about 12,000 troops from Germany, arguing that there was no justification for their continued presence.
Russia began its current military modernization drive after its armed forces’ poor performance in the country’s brief war with Georgia in 2008, according to the report. It highlights particular improvements in Russia’s nuclear weaponry and in the Russian Aerospace Forces, as well as patchier progress in Russia’s ground forces and navy.