Imports of military equipment to Europe will almost double in 2022, mainly due to massive deliveries to Ukraine, which has become the third largest importer of arms globally, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released today.

Conventional arms imports have taken off, rising 93% year-on-year, which is also attributed to the acceleration of military spending by several European states, notably Poland and Norway, a trend that is expected to strengthen further, the report said.

“The invasion really caused a sharp increase in arms demand in Europe, which has not yet fully manifested itself, and will probably lead to further increases in imports from European states,” Peter Wezeman, co-author of the annual report, told AFP. of SIPRI’s study on the issue over the past three-plus decades.

Ukraine, last year a comparatively negligible importer of military equipment, suddenly became in 2022 the third largest destination of arms on the planet, behind Qatar and India, a direct consequence of the Western aid offered to repel the invasion of the Russian army from the 24 February 2022.

This country accounted for 31% of Europe’s arms imports and 8% of the world’s, according to SIPRI data.

Imports made by Kiev, including donations from the West, increased sixtyfold in 2022, the institute clarifies.

Although precise estimates are difficult to make due to the opacity of many contracts, the global arms trade is worth more than $100 billion annually, according to experts.

The jump in European imports was expected, given the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

However, it marked the even more spectacular acceleration of a trend already recorded in the Old Continent of the rearmament of European states after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Over the past five years (2018-2022), which SIPRI studies each time to draw conclusions about the main trends, European imports have increased by 47% compared to the immediately preceding five years, and this at a time when global trade has declined by 5%.

In contrast to Europe, all other continents recorded a decline in arms imports over the past five years, notably Africa (–40%), North and South America (–20%), and even Asia (–7%) and the Middle East (–9%), major markets.

On the exporter side, the top five positions in the last five years were occupied by the USA (40%, up from 33% in the previous five years), Russia (16%, despite a large decrease in its own sales last year), France (11% ), China (5%) and Germany (4%).