Europe’s Arms Imports Climbed 47% in the Last Five Years

European governments have increased their imports of major arms by 47% between 2018 and 2022 when compared to the previous five years, while the share of the United States in global arms exports has risen to 40% from 33%, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in its 2022 report on international arms transfers. Europe’s share in global arms imports has also increased from 11% to 16% between the two periods. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year has prompted the European states to race to boost and renew their defenses.

“Even as arms transfers have declined globally, those to Europe have risen sharply due to the tensions between Russia and most other European states,” SIPRI said in a statement. SIPRI defines major arms as aircraft, warships, tanks, artillery, missiles and various heavy defense systems.

According to SIPRI’s report, European NATO-member states increased their arms imports by 65% from the previous five-year period, although international arms transfers have fallen by 5.1%.

The United States and Russia have been the world’s largest and second-largest arms exporters for the past three decades.

U.S. arms exports increased by 14% from 2013-17, and the U.S. accounted for 40% of global arms exports. Russia’s share fell to 16% from 22%.

“It is likely that the invasion of Ukraine will further limit Russia’s arms exports,” SIPRI said. “This is because Russia will prioritize supplying its armed forces and demand from other states will remain low due to trade sanctions on Russia.”

In 2022, the Stockholm-based institute warned that the global nuclear arsenal was likely to grow in the coming years.

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