Russia reduced its military spending last year for the first time since 1998, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its report.
"Russia’s military spending fell by 20 per cent to $66.3 billion, making it the fourth largest spender," the document said. "The Russian economy has suffered a number of setbacks since 2014, including a significant drop in oil export revenues, and government spending has been falling since then. However, military spending kept increasing until 2017, when it fell for the first time since 1998."
"The fall in spending in 2017 brought the military burden down to 4.3 per cent of GDP, from 5.5 per cent in 2016. However, this share of GDP was still higher than any other European country had recorded since 2011," the report said.
World military expenditure reached $1739 bln in 2017, the highest level since the end of the Cold War.
The United States remained a global leader in military spending ($610 bln), which accounted for more than a third of the world total in 2017. The US spending was 2.7 times greater than the next highest spender, China. China earmarked an estimated $228 bln to its military last year, an increase of 5.6 per cent compared with 2016. However, this was the lowest increase since 2010.
"Driven by the perceived threat from Russia" many countries in Central Europe increased their military expenditure by 12 per cent.