Ukraine talks with Western arms manufacturers on launching production in Ukraine

A Ukrainian minister told Reuters that Kyiv is in talks with Western arms manufacturers to increase the manufacturing of weaponry, including drones. Contracts could be signed in the following months.

Ukraine has been trying to procure weapons ranging from munitions to rocket launchers to missiles since Russia’s invasion last year. Kyiv has gained backing from countries such as the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. 

Serhiy Boyev, Ukraine’s deputy minister for Strategic Industries, stated that Ukraine is in talks with manufacturers from Germany, Italy, France, and Eastern Europe about the joint production of weapons in Ukraine.

“We are in very detailed negotiations with them. And we are certain that we will have the agreements signed within the next few months,” Boyev told Reuters on the sidelines of the Paris Airshow.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in May that Ukraine had teamed up with the British defence business BAE Systems to establish a Ukrainian base to manufacture and repair weaponry ranging from tanks to artillery. But no agreement has yet been reached.

By inviting foreign defence corporations to manufacture armaments in Ukraine, Kyiv could meet its needs more effectively while developing its defence industry to seek global consumers when it is looking to create jobs for Ukrainians.

“Future deterrence of aggression will require a strong Ukrainian defence industry and strong Ukrainian armed forces. That is why we believe it is critical for international partners to come to Ukraine, set up production, and make Ukraine part of the free world’s security framework”, Boyev stated.

Ukrainian delegation approached drone makers, ranging from major international defence businesses to tiny suppliers, at the Paris Airshow. Boyev refused to reveal the companies he met with.

Baykar, a Turkish defence company, claimed late last year that it hoped to finish building a manufacturing unit in Ukraine in two years.

Baykar had announced intentions to develop the factory shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

During the battle, both Moscow and Kyiv’s armies deployed drones extensively. Kyiv says it is expanding its drone program to include surveillance and focusing on enemy targets at a broader range.

Drones have been supplied to Ukraine by Turkey, Norway, and the United States, but as the war with Russia escalates, more combat drones are required.

Negotiations on drone production may take longer, but Boyev believes that making drones in Ukraine might be an efficient way to capitalise on the country’s current drone expertise while also creating jobs in western and central Ukraine.

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