The actual impact of sanctions on Russian arms exports is not entirely clear. While it is true that they declined (Figure 2 opposite), other factors are also significant; for example, India started scaling back its imports from Russia in 2014, long before CAATSA sanctions, in order to diversify external suppliers and boost the domestic defence industry; as India is by far Russia’s main customer (nearly one-third of Russian arms exports in the 2011-2020 period), this change alone explained much of the fall in Moscow’s arms sales. Since CAATSA, India, China, and Turkey have bought Russian airplanes and air defence systems. On the other hand, US pressure may have discouraged countries such as Indonesia and Morocco from similar purchases.
Russian arms exports
Estimated value: US$ billion
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