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Where do Ukrainian Arms Shoot?


A year ago, the President Petro Poroshenko stated that Ukraine should enter the top five largest arms exporters in the world in the nearest future. However, according to the results of 2015 Ukraine reduced arms exports twice. At the same time - despite the events in the Donbas - Russia remains a major importer of Ukrainian products for military purposes.

According to SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), two world’s largest arms exporters are the United States (33% of global exports) and Russia (25%). China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Ukraine and Israel come next in the ranking.

The total share of arms exports of Ukraine in 2010-2015 was 2.6%, which enabled it to retain the 9th place in the list of the world's largest exporters. Meanwhile, this figure in 2009-2014 was 3%. Last year, Ukraine reduced arms exports twice – from $ 657 million to $ 323 million. Although in May 2015 the President P. Poroshenko stated that Ukraine should enter the top five largest arms exporters in the world in the nearest future.

Why isn’t our country in the top five? It is not because of the need to supply arms to the ATO as many people may think. There are two main reasons: firstly, we don’t have enough facilities to manufacture products which are in demand in the market; secondly, the reputation failures don’t allow expanding the arms market presence – failures to perform contracts, attempts to supply products of low quality, etc.

One can also assume that sales declined because the exporting to the “aggressor country” was ceased due to the events in the Donbas. But pay attention: Ukraine continued to export products for military services to the Russian Federation last year! According to SIPRI, the figure was $ 72 million in 2015 versus $ 155 million in 2014. That is less by half, but still Russia is the main importer of Ukrainian products for military services.

The top three largest buyers of Ukrainian arms also include China and Thailand, which have imported Ukrainian arms amounting to$ 98 million and $ 37 million respectively. Ukraine is the third in terms of the arms supply to China – engines for military aircraft were exported there in 2009-2014. In addition, Ukraine supplied armored vehicles to Thailand, Cameroon and Nigeria in 2014.

In general, the top ten countries importing arms in the world are India, Saudi Arabia, China, the UAE, Pakistan, Australia, Turkey, the United States, South Korea and Singapore. According to SIPRI, 153 countries have purchased arms for the last five years, i.e. two thirds of all countries in the world.

The countries bordering Russia began to increase imports of weapons actively for the last 2 years. For example, Poland imported German tanks, cruise missiles from the United States, and self-propelled guns from South Korea in 2014. Estonia purchased the old armored vehicles in the Netherlands, and Latvia in the UK.

Thus, considering that there is a huge drop in exports in almost all areas in Ukraine today, and the world demand for arms remains persistently high, we need to lay one of the main stresses on the development of this trend, making efforts to develop new markets for products for military purposes and increase the volume of such supplies. The increase in arms exports will also help the domestic defense enterprises to plan expansion and renovation of manufacturing facilities, to create new jobs, and meanwhile to rebuild the military-industrial complex and finance army re-equipment.

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