23:10 GMT01 June 2020
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    Russia increased its military expenditure by 5.9 percent to $69.2 billion in 2016 and became the third largest military spender after the United States and China, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) revealed in a study published on Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to SIPRI, the United States still has the highest annual military expenditure in the world ($611 billion), while China increased its military spending by 5.4 percent in 2016 to $215 billion.

    "Russia increased its spending by 5.9 per cent in 2016 to $69.2 billion, making it the third largest spender. Saudi Arabia was the third largest spender in 2015 but dropped to fourth position in 2016. Spending by Saudi Arabia fell by 30 percent in 2016 to $63.7 billion, despite its continued involvement in regional wars," the study said.

    Russian Army in pictures
    © Photo : Russian Defense Ministry
    According to the study, in 2015, Russia spent $66.4 billion for military needs and took the fourth position in the rating.

    Overall spending in Central Europe grew by 2.4 percent in 2016, while military expenditure in Western Europe grew by 2.6 percent in 2016, and this growth in Central Europe "can be partly attributed to the perception of Russia posing a greater threat," Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher with the SIPRI AMEX program said, as quoted in the study.

    Global military expenditure rose to $1.686 trillion in 2016, an increase of 0.4 percent, according to SIPRI figures.

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