Russia’s defense spending increased at its fastest rate in a decade in 2015, according to IHS Jane’s, a year of tense diplomatic relations with the West and fighting in Syria.
The Kremlin boosted its military spending by 21 percent this year to $54.1 billion, making it the fifth largest military budget the world, second only to U.S., China, the U.K. and France, an IHS Jane’s Defense Budgets Annual Report showed.
That’s about three times the amount spent by Moscow since 2007 in nominal terms, with its defense budget now accounting for 4.3 percent of GDP (gross domestic product).
Aside from running newsworthy military drills across the country, 2015 marked the start of Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria alongside troops led by President Bashar Assad, reportedly in an effort to quash Islamic State forces.
Meanwhile, regional tensions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and continued influence with separatist forces in eastern Ukraine have spooked Russia’s neighbors into bulking up their own military budgets.