Ukraine increased military spending by 640% last year, reached 34% of GDP

A Ukrainian soldier pets a cat on the frontline in the village of New York, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Monday, April 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Libkos)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released data on April 24, 2023, on military spending in 2022, highlighting that Ukraine has increased its military spending by 640 percent to $44 billion.

In contrast, Russia reached $86.4 billion, but the increase was much smaller. In addition, the world’s biggest arms spenders in 2022 were: the United States, China and Russia, accounting for 56 percent of the global total, according to SIPRI. Global military spending increased for the eighth consecutive year in 2022 to an all-time high of $2.24 trillion.

By far the strongest increase in spending (13 percent) was seen in Europe and was largely due to Russia and Ukraine. However, military aid to Ukraine and concerns about an increased threat from Russia have strongly influenced the spending decisions of many other countries, as have tensions in East Asia.

“The continued rise in global military spending in recent years is a sign that we live in an increasingly insecure world,” said Dr. Nan Tian, senior researcher at SIPRI’s Military Spending and Arms Production Program.

“States are strengthening their military power in response to the deteriorating security environment, which they do not expect to improve in the near future,” Tian added. “Military spending by Central and Western European states totaled $345 billion in 2022. In real terms, these states’ spending exceeded for the first time that of 1989, when the Cold War was ending, and was 30 percent higher than in 2013.”

Dr. Diego Lopes da Silva, a senior researcher at SIPRI, said: “The invasion of Ukraine had an immediate impact on military spending decisions in Central and Western Europe. This included multi-year plans to increase spending by several governments.”

Elsewhere in Europe, some of the strongest increases were seen in Finland (36 percent), Lithuania (27 percent), Sweden (12 percent) and Poland (11 percent).

Ukraine’s military spending reached $44 billion in 2022. At 640 percent, this was the highest single-year increase in a country’s military expenditure ever recorded in SIPRI data. As a result of the increase and the war-related damage to Ukraine’s economy, military spending as a share of Ukraine’s GDP shot up to 34 percent of GDP in 2022, from 3.2 percent in 2021.

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