Global military spending hits an all-time high of $2.24 trillion

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Rising spending reflects the war between Russia and Ukraine and the “increasingly insecure world,” the leading think tank said.

Global military spending hit an all-time high of $2.24 trillion in 2022, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparked a surge in military spending across Europe, according to a leading defense think tank.

Global spending has risen for the eighth consecutive year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported Monday in its annual report on global military spending.

There was a 13 percent increase in Europe, the strongest increase in at least 30 years.

SIPRI said most of that was related to Russia and Ukraine, but other countries also increased their military spending in response to perceived Russian threats.

“The continued rise in global military spending in recent years is a sign that we live in an increasingly insecure world,” said Nan Tian, ​​senior researcher at SIPRI’s Military Spending and Arms Production Program. “States are strengthening their military strength in response to a deteriorating security environment, which they do not see improving in the foreseeable future.”

Moscow invaded and captured Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, supporting separatist rebels in the east of the country before embarking on its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

The moves have raised alarms in other countries bordering Russia or once part of the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence, with Finland’s spending rising 36 percent and Lithuania’s military spending rising 27 percent, SIPRI said.

In April, Finland, whose border with Russia is some 1,340 kilometers long, became NATO’s 31st member. Sweden, which has avoided military alliances for over 200 years, also wants to join.

“While the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 certainly influenced military spending decisions in 2022, concerns about Russian aggression have been going on for much longer,” says Lorenzo Scarazzato, a researcher at SIPRI’s Military Spending and Arms Production Program . “Many former Eastern Bloc states have more than doubled their military spending since 2014, the year Russia annexed Crimea.”

The think tank said Ukraine’s military spending has increased more than six times to $44 billion by 2022, the highest one-year increase in a country’s military spending ever recorded in SIPRI data.

As a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), military spending rose to 34 percent in 2022, compared to 3.2 percent the year before.

According to SIPRI, Russian military spending is estimated to increase by 9.2 percent in 2022 to about $86.4 billion. That corresponded to 4.1 percent of Russia’s GDP in 2022, up from 3.7 percent in 2021.

The United States remained the world’s largest military expenditure — rising 0.7 percent to $877 billion by 2022 — which was 39 percent of total global military spending. The increase was largely driven by “the unprecedented level of financial military assistance it provided to Ukraine,” said SIPRI’s Nan Tian.

According to the think tank, US financial military aid to Ukraine will total $19.9 billion by 2022.

China remained the world’s second-largest military expenditure, with an estimated $292 billion in 2022. This was 4.2 percent more than in 2021 and represents the 28th consecutive annual increase.

Meanwhile, Japan spent $46 billion on the military in 2022, up 5.9 percent from the previous year. SIPRI said this was the highest level of Japanese military spending since 1960.

Japan and China led military spending in Asia and Oceania, which amounted to $575 billion. SIPRI said military spending in the region had increased since at least 1989.

Tensions in East Asia have risen over the self-governed island of Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory. China also claims almost all of the South China Sea, an important maritime trade route, parts of which are also claimed by countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Japan and China are also embroiled in a dispute over the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands, which lie northeast of Taiwan.

Tokyo also has a long-running dispute with Moscow over the Northern Territories, which lie northeast of Hokkaido and were taken by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. Russia calls them the Kuril Islands.

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