War in Ukraine
Michael Clarke, former director general of the Royal United Services Institute, said: "The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 saw the return of major war to the European continent. The course of the conflict in 2023 marked the fact that industrial-age warfare had returned too. Industrial-age warfare bends significant parts, or in some cases whole economies, towards the production of war materials as matters of priority. Russia's defence budget has tripled since 2021 and will consume 30% of government spending next year. This will make the war in Ukraine a longer and more traumatic enterprise than anything Europe has known since the middle of the last century. The coming year will demonstrate whether Russia - and its suppliers in North Korea and Iran - or Ukraine - and its Western backers - are able and prepared to meet the voracious demands of industrial-age warfare."