In preparing Russia for war, Putin gave two top officials additional duties.


By Guy Falconbridge

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin Two key government officials overseeing the defense industry and energy sectors were given extra duties on Saturday, as the Kremlin chief braced the world's second-largest oil exporter for a protracted war in Ukraine.

Putin, who came to power in 1991 exactly eight years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, proposed additional powers. Dennis MantorovThe 55-year-old prime minister is the only first deputy prime minister in the new government. Mikhail Mushtin.

Putin's energy point man, Alexander Novak, 52, will remain as deputy prime minister overseeing energy but will have additional duties to run the economy, according to the government.

Mantorov oversees the Russian defense and civilian industry, which has surprised the United States and its European allies by rapidly increasing artillery production across the NATO military alliance despite sanctions.

“The increase in the position of the deputy prime minister in charge of industry is due to the importance of ensuring technological leadership,” the Russian government said.

Russia said it aspired to “technological leadership in all sectors”, such as aircraft manufacturing, machine tool construction, radio electronics and the military industrial complex.

Novak has implemented Russia's key relationship with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Management experience

“Novak has the necessary administrative experience,” the government said. “For a long time, he coordinated economic and financial affairs in various positions in both business and municipal and public service.”

Proposals formally submitted by the Minister must be ratified by the lower house of Parliament.

Dmitry Petroshev, a former minister of agriculture, will become deputy prime minister overseeing the agricultural sector. Oksana Lut will become the Minister of Agriculture.

Putin left Finance Minister Anton Slovanov and Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikov in their jobs, but proposed Kemerovo Region Governor Sergei Tsevilov as Energy Minister instead of Nikolai Shulgenov. Anton Alikhanov, the 37-year-old governor of Kaliningrad, was proposed as Minister of Trade and Industry.

According to Russian and US diplomats, Putin's invasion of Ukraine in 2022 would mark the worst deterioration in relations between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

The West sees the attack as an imperialist land grab and has vowed to help Ukraine defeat Russian forces. Putin portrays the war as a war with the West over what he says is an attempt to encroach on Russia's sphere of influence, which he sees as including Ukraine.

Russia occupies 18 percent of Ukraine. Its economy has grown despite Western sanctions, and despite hundreds of billions of dollars in Western support for Ukraine, Russian forces are advancing into Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly warned that Western support for Ukraine – including Western weapons that have been used to target Russian soil – risks turning the conflict into a wider European war, and says it will I will achieve all my goals.

Other important appointments, such as proposals for defence, foreign and key security services, are likely to come on Monday.

(Reporting by Guy Falconbridge; Editing by Alex Richardson and David Holmes)

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