UK arms sales reach record £8.5bn as global tensions escalate

More than half of weapons exports were for repressive regimes such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as sales doubled last year

British arms exports doubled during 2022 to a record £8.5bn according to the only publicly available official figures, reflecting escalating geopolitical uncertainties and fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The largest destination for UK-made weaponry was Qatar, which bought £2.7bn-worth, and 54% went to countries designated as “not free” by the human rights group Freedom House. These include Saudi Arabia and Turkey, as well as Qatar.

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