Ukraine Reacts to Russia’s New Defense Minister: Economy Shifts to War Focus

In a surprising move, Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed economist Andrei Belousov as the new defense minister, signaling a significant shift towards militarization of the economy, according to Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak. This move comes more than two years after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, indicating a strategic overhaul in Moscow’s approach to its economy to better serve its war efforts.

Podolyak emphasized the transformative nature of this decision, stating that Russia is now aligning almost its entire economy to military priorities. The appointment of Belousov, a former deputy prime minister renowned for his expertise in economics, reflects Putin’s ambition to restructure Russia’s economic framework in favor of military production.

The restructuring doesn’t end with the appointment of Belousov. Putin also intends to assign former defense minister Sergei Shoigu to oversee Russia’s military-industrial complex as the secretary of the country’s powerful Security Council. These changes highlight the Kremlin’s determination to bolster its military capabilities and further integrate the defense sector into its economic strategy.

Amidst ongoing conflict in regions like eastern Donbas and northeastern Kharkiv, Podolyak stressed the critical juncture Ukraine finds itself in after 27 months of fighting. He called for tighter sanctions on Russia and appealed for increased Western military support to counter the advancing Russian forces.

In Podolyak’s view, Ukraine urgently requires additional air power, long-range capabilities, and ammunition to navigate this pivotal phase of the conflict. The outcome, he believes, will not only shape the future of the war but also determine the post-war geopolitical landscape.

As Ukraine braces for further military escalation, the appointment of Belousov as Russia’s defense minister underscores the deepening militarization of Moscow’s economic agenda and raises concerns about the intensification of hostilities in the region.

This move prompts Ukraine to renew its calls for international support and underscores the urgent need for concerted action to address the escalating conflict and its broader implications for regional stability.