Serbia recorded the biggest expenditure for its military among the countries of the Western Balkans in 2019, Radio Free Europe reported on Monday quoting a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Serbia’s military spending in 2019 stood at 1.14 billion Dollars or 43 percent higher than a year earlier, SIPRI said specifying that the increase amounted to 326 million Dollars.
SIPRI ranked Serbia 5th on the list of 15 countries with the biggest annual increase in spending on the military. RFE recaled that Serbia has been arming itself intensely over the past few years, relying heavily on Russia for its purchases, with a lack of transparency in financing those purchases.
RFE said that it sent the Serbian Defense Ministry a number of questions about the details of weapons procurement from Russia but received no reply. According to RFE, the Serbian authorities have increased the military budget by 199 million Euro in 2019, bringing that budget to 796 million Euro. It added that the way the money was being spent could not be determined from the data published by the Defense Ministry.
The report said that all the countries of the Western Balkans increased their military expenditures with Serbia and Croatia (1.009 billion Dollars) leading the field. The SIPRI report said that Albania’s military spending stood at 189 million Dollars in 2019, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s 183, North Macedonia 151 Million, Montenegro 89.3 million and Kosovo 65.7 million Dollars.