U.S. Aims to Grab Hold of Russia’s Global Arms Market Share

A senior U.S. State Department official told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the $4 billion Ukraine aid package is partly aimed at shrinking Russia’s share in the global arms exports.

Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Lewis confirmed in her testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that there is an opportunity for the U.S. to help other countries to divest from Russian equipment.

She added that the United States should take advantage of Russia’s poor performance against Ukrainian forces and its faltering defense supply chain to diminish Moscow’s influence abroad and increase the U.S.’

Lewis also mentioned that this was an opportunity to send a message to U.S. allies about Russia’s reliability as a defense partner.

Washington has been making efforts to encourage partners to diversify arms exports away from Russian systems. It has provided U.S. weaponry to Eastern European nations that send their Soviet era equipment to Ukraine. But Lewis said that China could also have an eye on Russia’s market share.

Lewis underlined the importance to provide affordable or subsidized U.S. solutions not only to encourage partners to stay away from Russian systems but also to ensure they don’t knock Beijing’s door to replace their defense needs.

Russia is the world’s second-largest arms exporter after the U.S., averaging more than $13 billion in reported annual sales. Five states have the lion’s share of Russian exports: India, Algeria, China, Egypt and Vietnam. India is the largest importer of Russian arms since 2016.

The Western sanctions have strained Russia’s defense supply chain, even forcing the military to use microchips from household appliances in some equipment.

Since sanctions have started in late February, U.S. exports of technology to Russia have fallen by nearly 70 percent.

After $650 million in foreign military financing was approved for Ukraine and other Eastern and Central European countries in the previous Ukraine-related aid package, the pending $40 billion package would add another $4 billion.

The proposed financial aid package was approved by the House and has strong support in the Senate but it has been delayed until next week.

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