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Global military spending soared again in 2021 and set new records as Russia continued to build its military before the war with Ukraine, researchers reported Monday, predicting that this trend will continue, especially in Europe.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (CIPRI), despite the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, countries around the world have increased their military arsenal by 0.7 percent over the past year.
“In 2021, military spending rose for the seventh consecutive year to $ 2.1 trillion, the highest number ever,” said Diego Lopez da Silva, the company’s senior researcher.
Russia’s spending rose 2.9 percent for the third year in a row to $ 65.9 billion. Lopez da Silva said defense spending represented 4.1 percent of Russia’s GDP, “above the world average” and would make Moscow the world’s fifth-largest arms spender.
Higher oil and gas revenues helped boost the country’s military spending. Lopez da Silva noted that Russia had seen a sharp increase in spending at the end of this year.
Lopez da Silva said it was difficult to predict whether Russia would continue to spend because of sanctions imposed by Western countries in retaliation for the war.
In 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, the country was the target of sanctions at a time when energy prices were falling, making it difficult for them to measure the effectiveness of sanctions.
“Now … we have tough sanctions, that’s for sure, but we have higher energy prices, which will help keep Russia’s military spending at that level,” Lopez da Silva said.
On the other hand, Ukraine’s military spending has increased by 72 percent since the annexation of Crimea. Although spending will fall by more than eight percent to $ 5.9 billion by 2021, it represents 3.2 percent of Ukraine’s GDP.
As tensions escalated in Europe, many NATO nations increased spending. Lopez da Silva said he expects costs to continue to rise in Europe.
The Swedish company reached the spending target of 2 percent of GDP last year, one country lower than the previous year, but with a significant increase in 2014 from both countries.
The United States, the world’s largest spender with $ 801 billion, actually went against the global trend and cut its spending by 1.4 percent in 2021.
– ‘Technology Node’
Over the past decade, U.S. spending on research and development has increased by 24 percent while arms purchases have fallen by 6.4 percent.
Although both will decline in 2021, the decline in research is not large, highlighting the country’s focus on “next-generation technologies”.
“The U.S. government has repeatedly stressed the need to maintain the US military’s technical edge rather than strategic rivals,” said Alexandra Markssteiner, a researcher at Cyprian.
For its part, China, the world’s second-largest spender on military spending at $ 293 billion, raised its spending by 4.7 percent, recording its 27th consecutive year of spending increase.
The country’s military accumulation has led to an increase in the military budgets of its regional neighbors. Japan added $ 7 billion, an increase of 7.3 percent – its highest annual increase since 1972.
Australia also spent four per cent more on its military, reaching $ 31.8 billion in 2021.
India, the world’s third-largest investor with $ 76.6 billion, increased its arsenal funding by 2021, but by a modest 0.9 percent.
The United Kingdom came in fourth with $ 68.4 billion in military spending, up 3%, and $ 55.6 billion, down 17% from Saudi Arabia.
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