Russia military spending on the up, as US and EU cut costs
Russia spends more on arms compared to its GDP than the US and European countries, according to fresh figures released Monday (14 April) by Sipri, a military spending research group.
The US remains the world's top military spender in gross terms (€460bn), but its spending decreased by over 7 percent compared to the previous year, mainly because of the withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Also in proportional terms, US military spending represents only 3.8 percent of its GDP, while Russia (€63.4bn) has increased its arms budget to 4.1 percent of GDP in 2013, compared to 3.5 percent in 2004.
Russia’s spending has risen as it continues to implement the State Armaments Plan for 2011–20, under which it plans to spend 20.7 trillion roubles (€403bn) on new and upgraded armaments. The goal is to replace 70 percent of equipment with ‘modern’ weapons by 2020.
Ukraine, on the brink of a war with the invading Russian neighbour, has also increased its military spending by 16 percent compared to the previous year.
China, the world's second-largest military spender, has also upped its budget to an estimated €135 billion in 2013, representing two percent of its GDP, according to Sipri.
There are four European countries in the top 15 of largest military spenders in the world.
France (€44bn), which last year ranked fourth after Russia, has now slipped behind Saudi Arabia, on rank five. Compared to 2004-2013, France has slashed its military budget by 6.4 percent.
Britain is behind France, with €41 billion in military spending, a decrease by two percent compared to the previous decade.
Germany, ranking seventh in the world (€35.2bn), is the only European country to have increased its military spending compared to 2004-2013, by 3.8 percent.
Italy, by contrast, has slashed its arms spending by 26 percent, ranking 11th in the world with a budget of €23.6 billion in 2013.
Falls of over 10 percent in military spendig since 2008 have also been recorded in Austria, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK, as well as all countries in central Europe except Poland and Estonia.