Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Ukraine conflict boosts the business of war, by Philippe Leymarie (Le Monde diplomatique

Top 15 arms manufacturers by 2022 armaments division turnover

Top 15 arms manufacturers by 2022 armaments division turnover

Global military spending rose for an eighth consecutive year in 2022 to a post-cold war peak of $2.24trn or 2.2% of global GDP, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). French army chief of staff General Pierre Schill has warned that ‘major wars are back, and once more becoming a favoured way of settling differences’.

Things started to get out of control when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and later parts of the Donbass. Since then the world has been rearming. Defence industries have stepped up production and are competing for export market share. Russia has pulled out of several arms treaties and its 2024 defence budget is up nearly 70% year on year, back to 1980s levels. Finance minister Anton Siluanov says it includes ‘everything needed for the front, everything needed for victory’. The 10.8trn roubles ($120bn), around 6% of GDP, will be used to accelerate production of munitions, tanks and drones, pay troops and compensate the families of those killed in action.

Russia was once the world’s second largest arms supplier (after the US), accounting for 20% of global sales, mostly to Asia, the Middle East and Africa, but has exported little since 2022. Its industry is currently busy supplying its own army in Ukraine, where more munitions and equipment have been lost or expended than at any time since the second world war. Russia is estimated to have fired more than two million shells in Ukraine in 2023, twice as many as in 2022, and the Dutch defence analysis website Oryx says it has lost 10,000 military land vehicles (damaged or destroyed). Western, especially US, sanctions have also prevented major Russian deals with the Philippines (Mil Mi-17 helicopters), Indonesia (Sukhoi Su-35 fighters) and Kuwait (T-90 tanks).

Nor will there be any orders from former Warsaw Pact members or from the Baltic states, which have joined NATO. These countries too are rearming. Between 2014 and 2022 Lithuania’s defence spending (…)

Full article: 1 433 words.

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(1Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy, 2 January 2024.

(3See Anne-Cécile Robert, ‘Even war has rules’, Le Monde diplomatique, English edition, December 2023.

(7Nesrine Malik, op cit.

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