STOCKHOLM, SWEDISH REPUBLIC: Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe’s military spending increased at an unprecedented rate in 2022, hitting levels not seen since the Cold War, according to global security experts on Monday.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the growth in Europe helped global military spending set an eighth consecutive record of $2.24 trillion, or 2.2 percent of global GDP.

“It’s driven by the war in Ukraine, (which) is driving European budget spending upwards, but it’s also driven by the unresolved and worsening tensions in East Asia between the US and China,” said researcher Nan Tian, one of the study’s co-authors.

In 2022, Europe spent 13% more on its military than the previous year, during a year characterized by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to the think tank, the figure does not account for high inflation rates, implying that actual spending was significantly higher.

This was the largest rise in more than 30 years, and it represented a return to the level of spending in 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell.

“In Europe, it is at its highest level since essentially the end of the Cold War,” Tian explained.

Ukraine alone boosted its spending sevenfold to $44 billion, accounting for one-third of its GDP. According to SIPRI, the country has also benefited from billions of dollars in foreign armament donations.

At the same time, Russian spending increased by 9.2 percent last year, according to estimates.

“Regardless of whether the two warring nations are removed, European spending has increased significantly,” Tian said.

Spending in Europe has already increased by a third in the last decade, reaching $480 billion in 2022, and this trend is likely to continue and accelerate in the coming decade.


According to Tian, the continent might “potentially” see development levels comparable to 2022 for several years.
Following a significant decline in the 1990s, global military spending has been increasing during the 2000s.

The increase was initially caused by China’s significant military investments, which were then followed by heightened tensions with Russia following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The United States alone contributed for 39% of worldwide military spending. Together with China, which came in second with 13%, the two countries accounted for more than half of global military spending.

Russia was far behind at 3.9 percent, India was at 3.6 percent, and Saudi Arabia was at 3.3 percent.

“China has been increasingly investing in its naval forces as a way to expand its reach to Taiwan, of course, and then further out than the South China Sea,” Tian added.
Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Australia are all following suit.

Britain is the leading spender in Europe, contributing for 3.1 percent of worldwide expenditures, ahead of Germany at 2.5 percent and France at 2.4 percent – figures that include donations to Ukraine.

Britain, Ukraine’s second-largest donor after the US, “spends more than France and Germany combined.” It also provided greater military aid than France or Germany,” Tian explained.

Poland, the Netherlands, and Sweden were among the European countries that raised their military spending the most during the last decade.
Modern and expensive weapons also explain some spending increases, such as Finland’s acquisition of 64 US F-35 fighter fighters last year.



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