Global military spending climbed 7% in 2023 amid conflicts, think-tank SIPRI says

FILE PHOTO: National flags of the Alliance's members flutter at the NATO headquarters in Brussels

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -Global military expenditure grew 7% to $2.43 trillion in 2023, the steepest annual rise since 2009 as international peace and security deteriorated, a leading think-tank said on Monday,

The Stockholm International Peace Research InstitNATO spending target ute (SIPRI) said in a statement the United States, China and Russia were the top spenders in 2023.

Nan Tian, senior researcher at SIPRI's Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme, said: "States are prioritising military strength but they risk an action–reaction spiral in the increasingly volatile geopolitical and security landscape."

SIPRI said Russia raised spending by 24% to an estimated $109 billion. Ukraine increased spending by 51% to $65 billion and received at least $35 billion in military aid from other countries.

"Combined, this aid and Ukraine’s own military spending were equivalent to about 91% of Russian spending," the think-tank said.

It said NATO member countries' spending totalled 55% of the world’s expenditure.

"For European NATO states, the past two years of war in Ukraine have fundamentally changed the security outlook," SIPRI researcher Lorenzo Scarazzato said.

"This shift in threat perceptions is reflected in growing shares of GDP being directed towards military spending, with the NATO target of 2% increasingly being seen as a baseline rather than a threshold to reach."

NATO member states are expected to set aside at least 2% of gross domestic product for defence expenditure by the alliance.

SIPRI said most European NATO members had boosted such spending. The U.S. raised it by 2% to $916 billion, representing around two-thirds of total NATO military spending.

The percentage changes are expressed in real terms, in constant 2022 prices, SIPRI added.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, editing by Terje Solsvik and Bernadette Baum)