Ukraine crisis fueled rise in military spending worldwide: Expert

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The Russia-Ukraine war has created a massive demand for supplies and munitions as countries accelerated armament, causing a huge shift in the global weapons industry, an expert told Al Arabiya in a televised interview.

Speaking on the Al Arabiya defense show Askaritarya, Peter Singer, Professor of Practice in the Center on the Future of War and the School of Politics and Global Studies and one of the world’s leading experts on 21st century security issues, said that the war in Ukraine has essentially reshaped the defense sector.

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“The war has just created a massive demand for supplies and munitions that most of the military is not just there, but the nations that are supplying them, like in the United States, even in Iran, have struggled to keep up with,” Singer said.

“The Russians are literally running out of not only missiles but even artillery shells.

He added that certain defense technologies which have been proven to work in conventional warfare, such as drones or other arms that were used in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were primarily used for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency purposes.

The use of unmanned systems and drones in conventional warfare has caused other militaries to reconsider their usage and defense against them. As a result, there will be a significant rise in counter-drone technology. The expert also pointed out that the training provided to military personnel, particularly sergeants, is crucial in the effective use of these systems.

“[In] Ukraine, we saw them proved to be impactful, powerful and major scale conflict. And that’s not just for the larger size versions, like, for example, the ones supplied by Turkey, but also smaller civilian systems.”

Tanks and warships were proven to be “less than useful” because they “didn’t do well in the opening weeks of the conflict,” he explained, clarifying that this doesn’t mean that tanks will not be used anymore.

“It’s more that Russia bluntly used them [tanks] in a very dumb way. And so, that part of the argument about what it’s meant for the global supply chain of conflict, that part isn’t going to play true,” he continued.

“We’re going to see tanks still being sold, warships still being sold. Every nation is looking at the war in Ukraine as almost like a classroom or a lab for them, where they’re learning lessons about what only what works and what doesn’t work.”

A Russian soldier collects weapons found while patrolling at the Mariupol drama theatre, bombed last March 16, on April 12, 2022 in Mariupol, Ukraine. (AFP)
A Russian soldier collects weapons found while patrolling at the Mariupol drama theatre, bombed last March 16, on April 12, 2022 in Mariupol, Ukraine. (AFP)

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 last year in what it called a “special military operation.” Moscow’s invasion has since caused tens of thousands of deaths on both sides and has instigated Europe’s largest refugee crisis since the Second World War.

“On one hand, there was almost a fear of Russia or certainly a deep respect about what they might do in Europe. That drove a lot of defense planning in the United States. And it turned out the Russians, frankly, were not as good as everyone thought. And that was reflected in everything from US deployments to Europe to what people expected to play out in Ukraine,” Singer added.

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