SIPRI: Europe's arms imports rise amid tensions with Russia
Imports to European countries increased by 19%, the highest increase in any world region, according to SIPRI.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think-tank revealed, on Monday, that shipments of arms to Europe increased amid deteriorating relations with Russia in the five years through 2021, even as the global arms trade slowed.
SIPRI said, in a statement, that international transfers of major arms were down 5% globally compared to the previous five-year period. However, imports to European countries increased by 19%, the highest increase in any world region.
On his account, SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman said that “the severe deterioration in relations between most European states and Russia was an important driver of growth in European arms imports, especially for states that cannot meet all their requirements through their national arms industries.”
According to the report, the United Kingdom, Norway, and the Netherlands were Europe's top importers.
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"Other European states are also expected to increase their arms imports significantly over the coming decade, having recently placed large orders for major arms, in particular combat aircraft from the USA," the think-tank said.
The United States remained the world's largest arms exporter, increasing its market share to 39% from 32%.
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SIPRI's data is based on information and estimates on international arms transfers, including sales, gifts, and license production, and it reflects delivery volumes rather than the financial value of transactions.
Russia had for months been warning of the threat posed against it by NATO's attempts to expand eastward, which happened simultaneously with an increase in NATO military activity along Russia's borders, and batches of lethal weapons being sent to Ukraine, prompting Russia to request security guarantees from the West. Washington failed to provide the guarantees.
After the West did not respond to Russia's demands, and amid Ukrainian shelling on the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, President Vladimir Putin initiated a special military operation in Donbass.