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US cements position as largest arms exporter, with Russia a lagging second

An M16 rifle and loaded magazines lay stacked on the flight deck of the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) during small arms qualification training. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin V. Cunningham/U.S. Navy)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The United States has supplied more than one-third of global arms over the past five years, cementing its position as the world’s top weapons seller, according to a Swedish based research institute.

In a report published on March 9, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said that global volumes of arms transfers increased by nearly 6 percent in the 2015-19 period, compared with 2010-14.

Exports of weapons from the United States grew by 23 percent during the latest period, raising its share of total exports to 36 percent.

Russia was the world’s second-largest exporter with 21 percent of global arms deliveries, but Russian exports were 18 percent lower than in 2010-14.

“Russia has lost traction in India — the main long-term recipient of Russian major arms — which has led to a sharp reduction in arms exports,” said SIPRI researcher Alexandra Kuimova.

“This decrease was not offset by the increase in Russian arms exports to Egypt and Iraq in 2015-19,” she added.

France was the third-largest exporter, followed by Germany and China.

Saudi Arabia remained the world’s top arms importer in 2015-19, with 12 percent of the global total.