On Monday, the UK Defence Ministry issued the sixth edition of the Global Strategic Trends report, which is aimed at complementing the national defense strategy developed three years ago.
“Russian engagement in the wider international arena may also increase, particularly in the Arctic but also in the Middle East and North Africa. Power projection further afield may prove desirable and to enable it, Russia may seek to establish new relationships and develop bases,” the report said.
“It [Russia] is likely to continue to push for a multipolar world order with Russia as one of the leaders. It may seek to regain equilibrium with the United States (US) by reducing US global influence while increasing its own,” the report said.
According to the document, Russia will use a number of tools including military power, soft power and propaganda in order to boost its global positions.
“Russian military ambition could be hindered by a lack of recruits. In the next five years, the youth population will fall to less than 25 million and will continue to decline. This could limit traditional Russian aspirations for a one million person armed force,” the report said.
The UK Defence Ministry also called potential domestic disorder caused by the economic situation in Russia as well as increasing terror threat as constraining factors for the rise of the Russian global engagement.
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The report said that Russia would focus on development of trade and defense cooperation with the Asian countries including China and India.
"The Asia-Pacific region accounts for 60% of Russia's arms exports, and will therefore continue to be of high importance to the Russian defense industry. As Russia seeks to deepen commercial and defense trade relations with China, it will also engage with other regional powers, shown by expanding projects in Southeast Asia, ongoing military ties with India and a new strategic engagement with Pakistan," the document noted.
According to the UK Defence Ministry, Russia will seek intensification of cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.
"Russia will also continue being an influential actor in the Central Asian region… Russia may become more engaged in the region in response to an increasingly Muslim population and a growing fear of religiously-motivated extremism and terrorism. Russia will continue to use investment in Central Asian economies and projects, such as gas distribution systems, as a tool of influence, as well as for economic gain," the report said.
The report added that Russia would continue to pay a great attention to its positions in the Arctic region as well as to increase its presence in the Antarctic region.