Russia-Ukraine conflict spurs record Europe military spending



Military expenditure in Europe has seen its sharpest year-on-year rise in at least 30 years due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, according to a report recently released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Total global military expenditure rose by 3.7 percent in real terms in 2022, reaching a new high of $2.24 trillion and representing its eighth consecutive year of growth, said the report, adding that by far, the sharpest rise in spending – 13 percent – was seen in Europe.

The sharpest rise was "largely accounted for by Russian and Ukrainian spending," said SIPRI.

Ukraine's military spending reached $44 billion in 2022, which is not only a 640-percent surge, but also the highest single-year increase in a country's military expenditure ever recorded by SIPRI.

The military burden - military spending as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) - shot up to 34 percent of GDP in 2022, from 3.2 percent in 2021.

Meanwhile, Russian military spending grew by an estimated 9.2-percent in 2022 to around $86.4 billion, which is equivalent to 4.1 percent of Russia's GDP in 2022, according to the think tank.

The report also highlighted that military expenditure by states in Central and Western Europe totaled $345 billion in 2022, which for the first time surpassed that of 1989, the period when the Cold War was ending.

Besides the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the think tank also noticed others in Europe announced plans to raise spending levels over periods of up to a decade, adding that the sharpest increases were seen in European countries including Finland and Poland.

"As a result, we can reasonably expect military expenditure in Central and Western Europe to keep rising in the years ahead," said SIPRI Senior Researcher Diego Lopes da Silva.

Dr Nan Tian, another SIPRI Senior Researcher, said: "The continuous rise in global military expenditure in recent years is a sign that we are living in an increasingly insecure world."

"States are bolstering military strength in response to a deteriorating security environment, which they do not foresee improving in the near future."

Aside from Europe, the United States remains by far the world's biggest military spender with $877 billion in 2022 - accounting for 39 percent of total global military spending, said the report.

"The increase in the U.S. military spending in 2022 was largely accounted for by the unprecedented level of financial military aid it provided to Ukraine," said Dr Nan Tian.