Ukraine Invasion forces Russia’s Global Arms Exports to Drop Significantly

  • Bureau
  • 01:44 PM, March 13, 2023
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Ukraine Invasion forces Russia’s Global Arms Exports to Drop Significantly
S-400 air defense system

While the United States continued to sell more weapons and retained its position as the world’s top exporter, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a significant drop in the volume of weapons it exported.

Although still at world no. 2, Russian arms exports fell to 16% from 22% in the past five years, while the same figures for the U.S. rose to 40% from 33%. Its weapons sales fell 31% from between 2013–17 and 2018–22, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in a new report on Monday.

The annual volumes of arms exports in 2018 and 2019 were at similar levels to or higher than those in each of the previous 20 years, but were at significantly lower levels in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

“It is likely that the invasion of Ukraine will further limit Russia’s arms exports,” said Siemon T Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. “This is because Russia will prioritize supplying its armed forces and demand from other states will remain low due to trade sanctions on Russia and increasing pressure from the U.S. and its allies not to buy Russian arms.”

Egypt, third largest importer of Russian arms, cancelled a large order for combat aircraft in 2022, probably due to U.S. pressure, SIPRI said.

This could also be due to China’s and India’s push to indigenize weapons.

Being Russia’s longtime ally and biggest buyer of its arms, India, bought 37% fewer weapons between the two periods.

Ukraine's $2.64B Lands it in Third Spot of World's Largest Arms Importer List

Ukraine bought $2.64 billion worth of weapons in 2022, making it the third largest arms importer of that year.

SIPRI said Ukraine became the 3rd biggest importer of major arms during 2022 after Qatar and India, and the 14th biggest for 2018–22. Ukraine accounted for 2% of global arms imports in the five-year period.

European countries increased their weapons import by 47% in the five-year period between 2018 and 2022, largely due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European states want to import more arms, faster,” said Pieter D Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.

Of the 29 states that supplied major arms to Ukraine in 2022, the main suppliers were the USA, which accounted for 35% of total Ukrainian arms imports during the year, Poland (17%), Germany (11%), the United Kingdom (10%) and Czechia (4.4%).

Many of the arms supplied in 2022 were second-hand items from existing stocks, including 228 artillery pieces and an estimated 5000 guided artillery rockets from the USA, 280 tanks from Poland and over 7000 anti-tank missiles from the UK. Some newly produced arms were also supplied, such as air defense systems from Germany, Poland, the UK and the USA. In many cases, the supply of arms by one state was financed by other states or by the European Union (EU) through the European Peace Facility. For example, by the end of 2022, the EU had made €3.1 billion available for military equipment for Ukraine.

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