Putin’s barbarism in Ukraine highlights Russia’s war imports

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Photo from INQUIRER.net file

MANILA, Philippines — As Vladimir Putin steps up his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, his regime is making its chilling presence felt in the variety of weaponry, further proving Russia’s status as the world’s second largest exporter of weapons in the world.

On February 24, Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine, calling it “special military operations”.

In the past 22 days, since Putin ignored international pleas and flouted global standards in his quest to conquer Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, the Russian dictator has shown he is more than willing to use deadly force and start a terrorist war against millions of people.

According to experts, among the list of lethal weapons that Russia has used or could be used against Ukraine were thermobaric launchers or “vacuum bombs” – considered by many to be one of the most brutal weapons ever. existed – cluster bombs, fighter jets and nuclear weapons.

READ: Putin puts nuclear deterrent on high alert as West rallies to Ukraine

Such a list of weapons also backed up figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which named Russia the second-largest arms exporter worldwide between 2017 and 2021.

SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research on conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. It was established in 1966 and has since provided data, analysis and recommendations based on open sources.

what russia sells

GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

Russia, under Putin, was responsible for 18.6% of the total 136 billion arms exported or sold worldwide from 2017 to 2021, and at least 24.1% of the total 142 billion arms exported worldwide between 2012 and 2016.

READ: Putin’s war on Ukraine draws attention to global arms trade

In this article, INQUIRER.net takes a close look at Russia’s main customers, the weapons and price tags attached to the arms trade, and how the murderous business has influenced consumer countries’ stance on Putin’s aggression. in Ukraine.

Russia’s Best Customers

According to an analysis by consumer society Statista of data available from SIPRI, a huge share of the total 25,293,000,000 weapons exported by Russia from 2017 to 2021 were sold to the following countries:

  • India: 27.9% or about 7,068,000,000 military equipment
  • China: 21.1% or about 5,337,000,000 military equipment
  • Egypt: 12.6% or approximately 3,195,000,000 military equipment
  • Algeria: 11.2% or approximately 2,833,000,000 military equipment
  • Vietnam: 4% or about 1,016,000,000 military equipment
  • Kazakhstan: 4% or approximately 1,001,000,000 military equipment
  • Iraq: 2.9% or approximately 726,000,000 military equipment
  • Belarus: 2.8% or approximately 696,000,000 military equipment
  • Angola: 1.5% or approximately 376,000,000 military equipment
  • Turkey: 1.4% or approximately 344,000,000 military equipment

India, Russia’s defense industry’s biggest customer, was also the world’s largest arms importer between 2017 and 2021, and was responsible for 11.3% of the world’s total arms imports as of today. during the same period.

Russia's largest arms buyer

GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

Two of Russia’s biggest arms trade customers – Egypt and China – were also on the list of the world’s biggest arms importers for the past five years, as analyzed by Statista in a report. separate report.

READ: The biggest arms importers in the world

The Philippines was not included in SIPRI’s arms transfer database of Russia’s arms exports between 2017 and 2021, although in 2017 Russia – whose leader Putin was previously described by President Rodrigo Duterte as his “favorite hero” – gave the country several guns, including:

  • 5,000 Kalashnikov AK-74M assault rifles
  • a million cartridges
  • 20 army trucks
  • 5,000 steel helmets

The military equipment was handed over by Russia to the Philippines after Philippine officials signed a contract with Rosoboronexport, the only state intermediary agency for Russian exports and imports of defense and military-related products, technologies and services. dual purpose.

Weapons and price tags

According to research by INQUIRER.net, Russia exported or sold millions of different weapons and armaments from 2017 to 2021 to at least 45 countries and several other recipients not listed by SIPRI.

Among these weapons and armaments exported during the said period, according to SIPRI data, were:

  • 12,043,000,000 aircraft
  • 4,094,000,000 engines
  • 3,121,000,000 missiles
  • 2,661,000,000 armored vehicles
  • 1,614,000,000 air defense systems
  • 1,148,000,000 ships
  • 279,000,000 sensors
  • 164,000,000 naval weapons
  • 50,000,000 satellites
  • 42,000,000 artillery
  • another 77,000,000

An Al Jazeera report citing SIPRI data showed that between 2016 and 2020, Moscow sold at least 1 trillion pesos ($28 billion) worth of weapons to 45 countries.

the price of russia

GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

The prices of some of Russia’s arms exports during the said period were:

  • aircraft: P732.8B ($14 billion)
  • engines: P193.7B ($3.7B)
  • missiles: P193.7B ($3.6B)
  • armored vehicles: P146.6B ($2.8B)
  • air defense systems: P104.7B ($2 billion)
  • ships: P78.5B ($1.5B)
  • sensors: P15.7B ($300M)

Monitoring of transactions with Russia

Records from SIPRI’s Arms Transfers Database showed the most recent transactions – arms and weapons sold and bought in 2021 – between Russia and its biggest customers.

Last year, India received 100 of the 156 BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) it ordered from Russia in 2020. According to SIPRI, the acquisition of the IFVs was part of a $148 million deal.

The remaining IFVs are expected to be delivered in 2022 or 2023.

India’s other recent purchase from Russia’s stockpile of weapons and armaments included 17,500 Konkurs anti-tank missiles and 12 Su-30MKI FGA aircraft.

China, Russia’s second customer, received between 2013 and 2021 72 AK-176 76 mm naval guns, ordered in 2010.

Egypt also received a variety of arms and weapons, including those received by the country, such as:

  • 50 MiG-29M FGA aircraft ordered in 2015 and delivered between 2017 and 2020
  • 300 R-73 out-of-visual-range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAM) for the Egyptian MiG-29M2 fighter jet ordered in 2015 and delivered between 2017 and 2020

Commercial influence on Putin’s aggression

According to analysis by Katharina Buchholz, senior data journalist at Statista, arms trade or business with Russia may have influenced the position of some of its biggest clients on the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. by Putin’s forces.

“India’s dependence on Russian defense technology has been identified as one of the main reasons why the country did not speak out against Russia after the country invaded Ukraine. late last month and instead tried to stay neutral,” Buchholz said.

“Eighty-five percent of the country’s military equipment is Russian or Soviet, according to the Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs. Russia and India are also close commercially, with India depending on Russia for its fertilizer and energy needs,” she added.

READ: Countries importing Russian weapons

On March 3, 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and demanding that Moscow withdraw its military forces.

A total of 141 countries, including the Philippines, supported the resolution. Meanwhile, 35 countries abstained and five voted against, including the Russian Federation.

Here are the votes of Russia’s biggest arms customers:

  • India: abstention
  • China: abstention
  • Egypt: favorable
  • Algeria: abstention
  • Vietnam: abstained
  • Kazakhstan: abstained
  • Iraq: abstention
  • Belarus: against
  • Angola: abstained
  • Turkey: for
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