Ukraine Leads European Arms Import Surge, Doubling Purchases

by Cheplyk Roman
Monday, March 11, 2024
Ukraine Leads European Arms Import Surge, Doubling Purchases

In a period spanning from 2019 to 2023, Ukraine emerged as the top arms importer in Europe, marking a significant surge in the continent’s arms imports by 94% compared to the previous five years, as reported by the Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

This increase is attributed to the influx of military support Ukraine received from around 30 countries following Russia's full-scale invasion, with the United States being the primary supplier, accounting for 55% of the arms supplied to Ukraine during this period, up from 35% in the years 2014-2018.

Germany and France followed the US as the leading arms suppliers to Ukraine, contributing 6.4% and 4.6% of the imports, respectively. Peter Wezemann, a senior researcher with SIPRI's Arms Transfer Program, anticipates that Europe's arms imports will maintain their current high levels, driven by orders for costly weaponry, including around 800 combat aircraft and helicopters, and a heightened demand for air defense systems over the past two years.

Conversely, Russian arms exports saw a dramatic decline, dropping by 53% between 2019 and 2023. From supplying weapons to 31 countries in 2019, Russia's clientele narrowed down to just 12 countries by 2023, with the majority of its arms exports directed towards Asia and Oceania, particularly India and China, which collectively accounted for the largest share of Russian weapons sales.

Amidst these developments, Ukraine has reported a tripling in domestic weapon production over the past year, significantly bolstered by the growing involvement of private companies within the country's military-industrial complex. This assertion was made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a meeting with leaders and staff from both state and private defense-industrial entities.

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