March 11 (UPI) -- The United States remains the world's top arms exporter, expanding its margin over second-place Russia and other countries in 2014-18, according to a report released Monday.
The Stockholm International Peace Institute's arms transfer database compiles information on all international transfers of major arms to states, international groups and armed non-state groups from the 1950s to 2018, divided into five-year periods.
In the latest report, the United States accounts for 36 percent of all world's arms exports in 2014-18, compared to 30 percent from 2009-13. By comparison, Russian weapons made up 21 percent of the world's exports in the latest report.
Some 52 percent of the U.S. exports have gone to the Middle East over the past five years.
"The USA has further solidified its position as the world's leading arms supplier," said Aude Fleurant, director of the institute's Arms and Military Expenditure Program.
"The USA exported arms to at least 98 countries in the past five years; these deliveries often included advanced weapons, such as combat aircraft, short-range cruise and ballistic missiles, and large numbers of guided bombs," Fleurant said.
The report said that the export gap between the United States and Russia has increased, with American exports growing 75 percent higher than Russia, compared to 12 percent higher in 2009-2013.
Arms exports are dominated by five countries -- the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China -- which account for 75 percent of all arms exported over the past five years.
The Rostec Corp., which is owned by Russia and includes its arms exporter Rosoboronexport, disputed the institute's report in state-owned media, claiming that Russian export sales have been more robust.
"There are big questions regarding the methodology of the calculations," said a statement from Rostec, which was started by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2000. It has sold more than $50 billion in arms globally.