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Russia Returns to Top 5 Defense Spending Countries Worldwide – Think Tank

The world’s top five defense spenders in 2019 — the United States, China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia — accounted for 62% of spending worldwide. Defense Ministry

Russia re-entered the world’s top five defense spending nations in 2019 after briefly falling to sixth place the previous year, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)’s latest annual report published Monday.

Global defense spending saw its highest one-year increase since 2010 last year, rising by 3.6% to  $1.917 trillion, the Swedish think tank said. The world’s top five defense spenders in 2019 — the United States, China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia — accounted for 62% of spending worldwide.

Russia now ranks fourth in the world for defense spending, with $65.1 billion in expenditures in 2019 compared to $61.4 billion the previous year.

“At 3.9% of its GDP, Russia’s military spending burden was among the highest in Europe in 2019,” SIPRI quoted its researcher Alexandra Kuimova as saying.

Germany, Europe’s leading defense spender, increased its military budget by 10% in 2019, marking “the largest increase in spending among the top 15 military spenders” last year, SIPRI said. The think tank linked Germany’s move to “the perception of an increased threat from Russia” shared by its fellow NATO member states. NATO’s total military spending reached $1.035 trillion in 2019, SIPRI said.

According to SIPRI, global defense spending was 7.2% higher in 2019 than in 2010, reflecting accelerated growth in military spending in recent years.

“This is the highest level of spending since the 2008 global financial crisis and probably represents a peak in expenditure,” SIPRI researcher Dr. Nan Tian said.

In the past year, China has surpassed Russia to become the world’s second-largest arms exporter, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper reported, citing SIPRI’s research.

Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin last month told Interfax that Moscow’s weapons sales totaled $15 billion in 2019. According to Fomin, some 50 countries purchased Russian arms and military equipment last year.

Washington has warned that countries trading with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors would face automatic sanctions under a sweeping law known as Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

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