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Watchdog: World military spending up to an all-time high

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Global military spending grew for the eighth consecutive year in 2022 to an all-time high of $2.24 trillion, with a sharp rise in Europe, chiefly due to Russian and Ukrainian expenditure, a Swedish think tank said Monday.

Spending globally increased by 3.7% in real terms, but military expenditure in Europe was up 13% — its steepest year-on-year increase in at least 30 years, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, said in a report. Military aid to Ukraine and concerns about a heightened threat from Russia “strongly influenced many other states’ spending decisions.”

The independent Swedish watchdog said that last year, the three largest arms spenders were the United States, China and Russia, who between them accounted for 56% of global expenditure.

‘The rise “is a sign that we are living in an increasingly insecure world,” said Nan Tian, a researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Program.

Several states significantly increased their military spending following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while others announced plans to raise spending levels over periods of up to a decade. Some of the sharpest increases were seen in countries near Russia: Finland (36 %), Lithuania (27%), Sweden (12%) and Poland (11%).

Both Sweden and Finland jointly applied for NATO membership in May 2022, abandoning decades of nonalignment in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While Finland has been admitted, Sweden’s bid to join NATO remains stalled by opposition from Turkey and Hungary.

“While the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 certainly affected military spending decisions in 2022, concerns about Russian aggression have been building for much longer,” said Lorenzo Scarazzato, a researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Program.

Graphic novels are displayed for sale at a bookstore in New York City on Sunday, October 8, 2023. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department releases U.S. retail sales data for September. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
Graphic novels are displayed for sale at a bookstore in New York City on Sunday, October 8, 2023. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department releases U.S. retail sales data for September. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

“Many former Eastern bloc states have more than doubled their military spending since 2014, the year when Russia annexed Crimea.”

Russia also has increased its military spending. SIPRI said that grew by an estimated 9.2% in 2022, to around $86.4 billion. That is equivalent to 4.1% of Russia’s gross domestic product in 2022, up from 3.7% the previous year.

Established in 1966, SIPRI is an international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

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