The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported yesterday that Russia had emerged in 1995 as a major global supplier of conventional weapons. Moscow, the report said, accounted for 17 percent of all such arms deliveries last year compared to just four percent in 1994. According to the report, the U.S. remained by far the largest supplier of weapons, but saw its share of the world market slip significantly from 56 percent in 1994 to 43 percent last year. SIPRI said that overall world military spending continued to decline in 1995, but observed that expenditures on military hardware rose in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. (Reuter, June 13)
The SIPRI report appears to bear out claims of rising arms exports from Russian government and defense industrial leaders. Another such claim was voiced yesterday when the chairman of Russia’s State Committee on Military-Technical Policy told news agencies that the volume of Russian military sales for the first five months of 1996 had risen by 30 percent compared to the same five months in 1995. According to Sergei Svechnikov, earnings from foreign arms sales have helped leading Russian defense firms to survive and will thus permit them in the future to supply Russia’s own armed forces. Not surprisingly, Svechnikov attributed Moscow’s success in this area to measures coordinating Russian arms sales promulgated by president Boris Yeltsin. (Interfax, June 13)
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