Russia 3rd largest military spender: study

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MOSCOW: Russia became the world’s third largest military spender in 2016 despite low oil prices and economic sanctions, as the global expenditure rose for a second consecutive year, a study said yesterday. Russia’s military spending was $69.2 billion in 2016, a 5.9 per cent rise over 2015, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report, adding this was the highest proportion of its GDP since it became an independent state. “This increased spending and heavy burden on the economy comes at a time when the Russian economy is in serious trouble due to low oil and gas prices and the economic sanctions imposed since 2014,” (by the West over the Ukraine conflict), SIPRI said. Saudi Arabia was the third largest spender in 2015 but dropped to fourth place in 2016 as its expenditure fell by 30 per cent to $63.7 billion, “despite its continued involvement in regional wars”, it added. “Falling oil revenue and associated economic problems attached to the oil-price shock has forced many oil-exporting countries to reduce military spending,” SIPRI researcher Nan Tian said, adding Saudi Arabia had the largest drop in spending between 2015 and 2016. The US remained the top spender as its expenditure grew by 1.7 per cent between 2015 and 2016 to $611 billion while China boosted its expenditure by 5.4 per cent to $215 billion, a lower rate than in previous years.–Agencies

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