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Wars contributed to record world defense spending

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The war in Ukraine is cited as a main reason why military spending in the world is increasing sharply. The picture shows 155 millimeter artillery shells at a munitions factory in American Pennsylvania. Illustration photo: Matt Rourke / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 22.04.2024 01:40:26

Policy: A report from the Swedish Peace Institute shows that defense spending rose by 6.8 percent to $2.44 trillion last year, adjusted for inflation. This is the largest annual increase since 2009, informs the think tank.

The sum corresponds to around NOK 26.9 trillion – or NOK 26,866 billion at today’s exchange rate. That is more than one and a half times the value of the Norwegian oil fund.

– All the regions we look at had an increase. It provides a perspective that shows that the world feels less secure, and that the focus may be on hard security measures rather than diplomacy. Countries experience tension and instability, and therefore choose, instead of diplomatic efforts, to invest more in the military, says Sipri researcher Lorenzo Scarazzato to the news agency DPA.

– One of the most important factors behind this is, of course, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. We have seen how it has triggered increased military spending in Europe, he explains.

The United States is still clearly at the top, and with its 916 billion dollars accounts for more than a third – more precisely 37 percent – of the world’s military expenditure. That’s about three times as much as China, which is in second place with an estimated $296 billion. Together, the two countries account for about half of all the money spent on defense in the world.

In war-torn Ukraine, defense expenditure increased by 51 per cent from 2022 and last year accounted for 58 per cent – ​​well over half – of the country’s public expenditure. Ukraine’s defense spending corresponds to 59 percent of Russia’s spending on the military. If USD 35 billion in military support from the country’s allies is taken into account, Ukraine’s defense expenditure is 91 per cent of Russia’s.

Russia increased military spending by 24 percent last year. Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, spending has increased by 57 percent and now accounts for a sixth of the country’s public spending.

– The large growth in military spending in the Middle East is an expression of the rapidly changing situation in the region – from the thawing of diplomatic relations between Israel and several Arab countries in recent years to an extensive war in Gaza and fears of a regional conflict, says senior researcher Diego Lopes da Silva at Sipri.

All ten major military powers increased their spending. Sipri says the war in Ukraine is also a reason for the large increase.

The next three places on Sipri’s list were the same last year as the year before: Russia, India and Saudi Arabia.

Israel’s warfare in Gaza also affects spending for military purposes. The increase in the last year was 24 per cent.

(© NTB)

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