LONDON, February 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is now the world’s third-largest military spender after the United States and China, pushing the United Kingdom into fourth place, a study by a defense consultancy shows.

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Russia is due to increase its defense spending by more than 44 percent in the next three years, from $68 billion in 2013 to $98 billion in 2016, an annual defense budget review by IHS Jane’s showed.

Spending increases are the highest in Russia, whose estimated military budget for 2014 of $78 billion reportedly rose by 13.5 percent on 2013, as it modernizes its forces despite a slowdown in economic growth, while spending on health and social care was reduced.

“Russia, Asia and the Middle East will provide the impetus behind the growth in global military spending expected this year and will drive the recovery projected from 2016 onwards,” Paul Burton, director of IHS Jane’s Aerospace, Defense and Security, said in the report.

Global military spending is growing for the first time since 2009, having decreased over the past five years. That decline was largely influenced by cuts in the US defense budget resulting from the country’s withdrawal from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Guy Eastman, a senior analyst, was quoted in the report as saying.

The defense budgets of Russia and China combined will exceed total defense spending by the EU by 2015, the report said.

The US remained the world’s biggest spender last year with an estimated $582.4 billion, followed by China with $139.2 billion.

China, already the second biggest spender on defense, will spend more than the UK, France and Germany combined by 2015, a senior IHS analyst, Fenella McGerty, said in the statement.

News Source : LONDON, February 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is now the world’s third-largest military spender after the United States and China, pushing the United Kingdom into fourth place, a study by a defense consultancy shows.

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