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Excluding Ukraine, Serbia is arming itself the most among European countries

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A megjelenés dátuma

Szerbia fegyverkezik / Serbia is arming itself
Olvasási idő: 4 perc

Over the last five years, global arms trade has declined, but Europe has been heavily arming itself. From the perspective of arms manufacturers, the „little good Ukrainian war” was much needed to prevent revenue sources from drying up in the global defense industry. According to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the global volume of international arms sales decreased by 5.1% over the last five years, while European countries that „feared” the Ukrainian war saw their arms imports increase by 47%. It is striking that, excluding Ukraine, Serbia has bought the most weapons among European countries, but significant arms acquisitions have also been made by the Netherlands, Norway, and Poland.

Europe has begun to arm itself

Arms imports from European countries increased by 47% over the last five years (2018-2022) compared to the previous five-year period, while the global volume of international arms transfers decreased by 5.1%. 

In all other continents, fewer weapons were purchased, with a 40% decline in Africa, 21% in the Americas, and 7.5% in Asia and Oceania. Furthermore, the Middle East, which was separately measured in terms of arms purchases, saw an 8.8% decrease in arms transfers than before, so Europe is leading the list of arms acquisitions.

In real terms, the top five arms importers between 2018-2022 were India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia, and China, while the top five arms exporters were the United States, Russia, France, China, and Germany.

So far, the Russian attack on Ukraine has had only a limited impact on the overall volume of armament over the last five years, but Ukraine has become an important importer of weapons in 2022, as shown in the following figure.

A fegyverimport növekedése az utóbbi öt évben az előző öt évhez képest

A fegyverimport növekedése az utóbbi öt évben az előző öt évhez képest (Forrás: SIPRI)

According to data, the top three countries that have provided Ukraine with the most weapons in the last five years are the United States, Poland, and Germany, with a two-thirds share of Ukraine’s arms imports. The United States accounted for 34%, Poland for 17%, and Germany for 11% of Ukraine’s armament.

In the last five years, 23% of the United States’ arms exports went to European countries, which represents an 11% increase compared to the period between 2013 and 2017. The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Norway were the top three European recipients of American weapons.

Although the United States showed a sharp increase in its arms exports to Ukraine in 2022, the value of Ukrainian shipments fell short of those sent to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Japan, as these countries purchased expensive combat aircraft and air defense systems from the Americans, while the US mainly supplied less advanced and mostly used military equipment to Ukraine.

Turkey, a NATO member, received relatively few American weapons due to the low bilateral relations between the two countries in recent . Turkey ranked 27th among the countries that received US arms exports.

Who else exports weapons?

SIPRI identified 63 countries as sellers for the 2018-2022 period. The top five arms exporters are the United States, Russia, France, China, and Germany. These countries are responsible for more than three-quarters (76%) of global arms sales.

The American and French arms exports increased in the last five years compared to the previous similar period, while Russian, Chinese, and German arms exports declined.

The top five exporters in Western Europe – France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Spain – accounted for approximately one-quarter (24%) of the world’s total arms exports between 2018-2022.

A legtöbb fegyvert adták el

Ezek az országok adták el a legtöbb fegyvert, jól látható, hogy mekkora az öt legnagyobb exportőr részesedése (Forrás: SIPRI)

In the period between 2018 and 2022, the first 25 arms exporters accounted for 98 percent of all global arms exports. Interestingly, countries located in North America and Europe together generated 87 percent of all exports, meaning they supplied almost all of the weapons to the rest of the world.

Visszaesett a fegyvereladás

A fenti táblázat azt jelzi, hogy melyik országok fegyvereladása esett vissza az utóbbi öt évben (Forrás: SIPRI)


Eight countries sold significantly fewer weapons in the past five years compared to the previous five, with China not making the list but still experiencing a significant decline of 23%, along with Israel which saw a 15% drop in arms exports.

Serbia is rapidly arming itself

As previously mentioned, Serbia is rapidly arming itself and is worth noting as China’s significant partner. Following Pakistan and Bangladesh, Serbia received the third-largest amount of Chinese arms, though only one-tenth of what Pakistan received. 

Serbia now ranks 37th on the list of top arms-importing countries, with a staggering increase of 743%.

While Chinese arms sales to Serbia have surged in the past five years, so too have the number of Chinese weapons within the Serbian military. In fact, 43% of all weapons acquired by Serbia in the past five years were from China, with Russia and Belarus falling to second and third place with 31% and 20%, respectively. 

However, given that Belarus is almost exclusively armed by Russia and that Serbian purchases from Belarus are almost exclusively Russian-made, the Serbian military may still have more Russian than Chinese weaponry, as evidenced by their recent acquisition of MiG-29s.

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Arrests are piling up in Montenegro, after a police chief now the „crypto king” has also been caught


a megjelenés dátuma

Rendőrség / Police
Olvasási idő: 5 perc

Police officers in Montenegro are allegedly involved in cocaine smuggling, with several of them already taken into custody. On Wednesday evening (March 22), Dejan Knežević, the deputy director responsible for fighting organized crime at the Montenegrin Police Directorate, was arrested. Knežević is reportedly linked to members of a recently apprehended criminal gang, who have been charged by the Special State Prosecutor’s Office (SDT) with creating a criminal organization and drug trafficking. Meanwhile, the Montenegrin Minister of the Interior announced that a person believed to be one of the world’s most well-known and wanted fugitives has been arrested.

Did one of the top police chiefs commit a crime?

The Montenegrin special police, acting on the instructions of the Special State Prosecutor’s Office, arrested the deputy director responsible for fighting organized crime at the Montenegrin Police Directorate on Wednesday evening.

The Montenegrin authorities, in collaboration with Europol, carried out the arrest as part of a planned and coordinated operation that lasted several months.

This is not the first time that local police authorities in the Balkans have only acted following encouragement from Europe.


Moreover, Knežević is not suspected of merely knowing someone who knows someone among the criminals, but specifically of having created a criminal organization and committed other criminal offenses himself.

The deputy director responsible for fighting organized crime at the Montenegrin Police Directorate has been placed in 72-hour pre-trial detention after being questioned by prosecutors on Thursday.

His lawyer has stated that the police leader did not admit to committing any crimes and believes that all the evidence presented by the prosecution is unfounded.

Knežević has held important positions in the Montenegrin police for a long time, previously leading the anti-drug trafficking department before becoming the deputy director responsible for fighting organized crime in early March 2021.

Police officers caught smuggling cocaine

Knežević is not the first official to be apprehended recently. Goran Stojanović, who is believed to have been a member of the Kavač clan as well as a police officer, was arrested a few days ago. Two other police officers, one of whom is suspected to have been the bodyguard of Balkan drug lord Darko Šarić’s brother, have also been put behind bars.

In Montenegro, a total of five individuals are currently in custody, while 17 others are suspected of being involved in the smuggling of three tons of cocaine. The majority of those involved were either police officers or are currently employed by the police force.

In connection with the case, Acting Prime Minister Dritan Abazović stated that the cocaine, mostly smuggled by police officers, is worth over 100 million euros. 

Additionally, expensive assets such as cars have been seized from the suspects, with a total value estimated at 400-500 thousand euros.  If there were laws against organized crime, these assets would belong to the state, but as things stand, the government will have to spend money on their protection

– said Abazović who believes that the action taken by the special prosecutor’s office will have a seismic impact on the Kavač and Škaljar clans, as well as individuals associated with them.

No mafia or criminal organization will be able to control Montenegro’s state institutions as they used to

said the Acting Prime Minister, alluding to the current President, Milo Đukanović.

In addition to police officers and former government officials, there are also „businessmen” among the suspects who are allegedly involved in laundering the money through their companies. The investigation is ongoing.

„Đukanović and the Kavač Clan”

Prior to last Sunday’s presidential election, Executive Prime Minister Abazović spoke out about Montenegrin President Milo Ðukanović’s priorities, stating that the current president values preserving the Kavač clan more than winning the election.

Đukanović values the preservation of the Kavač clan more than winning the presidential election

said Abazović, adding that the current president is already too late in doing so.

If this government is not in power, no one can destroy the evidence, because, thank God, the Europol is already dealing with it

Abazović said, suggesting that his government has already handed over the relevant evidence to the European law enforcement agency.

The police kidnapped people

Meanwhile, the Europol has released new shocking information that Montenegrin police officers have abducted, beaten, and tortured people, then boasted about it to known criminals.

According to the European law enforcement agency, at least 14 members (names withheld by the editorial team) of the former special operations and support unit under the command of Mirko Banović carried out torture, participated in such crimes, or knew about their commission.

According to intercepted communication on encrypted phones, the police officers kept the abducted people in secret apartments, where they were subjected to inhumane treatment, beaten, tortured, had guns placed in their mouths, received electric shocks, were strangled, and humiliated.


Rendőri fojtogatás, ahogy azt a Sky applikáció megőrizte (Forrás: LibertasPress)

According to Montenegrin news portal Libertas, two police officers, Petar Lazović and Jugoslav Jugo Raičević, debated this issue with leaders and members of criminal groups, and often sent them photos of the tortured people.

The leaked information suggests that the police officers informed criminal group leaders such as Radoje Zvicer, Darko Šarić, and Nikola Spasojević about these „heroic acts,” but they also had contact with Šarić’s group members, as well as Serbian criminals Veljko Belivuk and Marko Miljković.

Libertas reports that the Montenegrin police officers in question had daily contact with various criminal circles while also dealing with cigarette and drug smuggling.

The Montenegrin Police Directorate declined to respond to journalists’ questions regarding whether any proceedings had been initiated against any of the individuals listed by Europol, and if so, when and with whom.

World-shaking Arrest

In a Twitter announcement on Thursday afternoon, Filip Adžić, the Minister of Interior of Montenegro and member of the Prime Minister’s Movement, revealed that the Montenegrin police have arrested one of the most wanted fugitives in the world.

This was the icing on the cake, as Adžić himself belongs to the ruling party. Adžić identified the suspect as Do Kwon, a South Korean citizen and co-founder and CEO of the Singapore-based company Terraform Labs.

He stated that Kwon was responsible for over $40 billion in losses and that he had been detained at the Podgorica airport.

The former crypto king who caused losses of more than $40 billion has been deprived of his freedom at the Podgorica airport

Adžić wrote on Twitter. He added that Kwon Do or Do Kwon was wanted by South Korea, the United States, and Singapore.

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The Montenegrin Minister of Interior stated that they are waiting for official confirmation of the suspect’s identity.

The Montenegrin Ministry of Interior later announced that they had detained two South Korean citizens, Kwon Do-Hyung and Hon Chang Joon, at the Podgorica airport for using forged Costa Rican passports to board a flight to Dubai.

The Interpol helped us determine this. During the baggage inspection, travel documents from Belgium and South Korea were also found. Interpol checks revealed that the Belgian documents were also fake

the Montenegrin Ministry of Interior stated in its announcement. The Ministry also revealed that there is no record of the two South Koreans entering Montenegro, which suggests that they may have illegally crossed the border, for example from Serbia.

Last year, there were suspicions that Do Kwon had been hiding in Serbia for some time, but these claims were never substantiated. It is likely that they were using false identities there, as well.

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