STOCKHOLM — Military spending increased sharply in 2014 in China and Russia and the Ukraine conflict prompted Eastern European countries to boost their defense programs, according to a study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released Monday.
The United States remains the world’s biggest spender on defense, but it spent 6.4 percent less year-on-year in 2014, while China, Russia and Saudi Arabia — the world’s next three highest spenders — all increased their expenditures.
China’s spending last year was estimated at $216 billion (€204 billion), a 9.7 percent rise.
The conflict in Ukraine pitting Kiev against pro-Moscow rebels has seen eastern European countries near Russia rack up their spending and revise their defense plans.
“The Ukraine crisis has fundamentally altered the security situation in Europe, but so far the impact on military spending is mostly apparent in countries bordering Russia,” SIPRI’s Sam Perlo-Freeman said.
Ukraine’s budget jumped by over 20 percent to $4 billion, while Russia’s rose by more than eight percent to $84.5 billion.