Ukraine becomes world's largest arms importer – SIPRI report
Photo: 71 Separate Jaeger Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Ukraine became the largest arms importer in the world in 2023. This is stated in a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday. For the period from 2019 to 2023, Ukraine became the fourth in the world in terms of the number of imported weapons.

"At least 30 states supplied major arms to Ukraine after the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022, mostly as military aid, meaning that Ukraine was by some distance the world’s largest arms importer in the year 2023," the report reads.

In 2022, Ukraine ranked third among arms importers. It was surpassed only by Qatar and India.

The most weapons supplied to Ukraine in 2019–2023 were from:

→ USA – 39%
→ Germany – 14%
→ Poland – 13%

Ukraine's share in global arms imports was 4.9% compared to 0.1% in 2014–2018. The overall growth of military imports over this period in 2019-2023 reached a record 6,633%.

Ukraine becomes world's largest arms importer – SIPRI report

In order to expand Ukraine's military potential, last year importers began supplying long-range systems. For example, Poland and Slovakia handed over 27 combat aircraft, while France and Britain gave Ukraine missiles with a range of 300 km, SIPRI notes.

Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway also started preparing for the delivery of 50 aircraft during the year.

According to the authors of the report, Russia relies primarily on its own industry in the production of major weapons. However, in 2022–2023, it imported aerial bombs from Iran and ballistic missiles from North Korea, violating the UN arms embargo on North Korea.

It is noted that arms exports to the United States, the world's largest arms supplier, have increased by 17% over the past five years, while exports from Russia have more than halved (-53%). Arms exports from France rose by 47%, overtaking Russia to become the world's second largest arms supplier.

The decline in Russian military exports has accelerated significantly. In 2019, the Russian Federation supplied weapons to 31 countries, in 2022 – to 14, and in 2023 – only to 12.

Arms imports by European states in 2019-2023 were 94% higher than in 2014-2018.

In the spring of 2023, the SIPRI report showed that Ukraine had increased military spending by 640% year-on-year. Because of the war, Ukraine rose from the fourth to the 11th place in the world in terms of defense spending.

In December, SIPRI reported that defense companies are losing revenue from arms sales despite rising demand. The reason is labor shortages, rising costs and disruptions in supply chains.