| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

Kyiv in talks with Western weapons makers about setting up production in Ukraine

A Ukrainian official told Reuters that the country is in talks with Western arms manufacturers to increase manufacturing of weaponry, including drones, and that contracts might be signed in the coming months.

Ukraine has been trying to procure weaponry ranging from ammunition to rocket launchers to missiles since Russia’s incursion last year. It has gained backing from nations such as the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom, and Sergiy Boyev, Ukraine’s deputy minister for Strategic Industries, stated that Kyiv is in negotiations with manufacturers from Germany, Italy, France, and Eastern Europe about building weapons in Ukraine.

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

In May, Ukraine’s President Volodomyr Zelenskiy said the country was working with British defence company BAE Systems (BAES.L) to set up a Ukrainian base to both produce and repair weapons from tanks to artillery.

No deal has been signed yet.

Germany’s Rheinmetall (RHMG.DE) said last month it had set up a joint venture with Ukrainian state-owned conglomerate Ukroboronprom to build and repair tanks in Ukraine. Operations were expected to begin from mid-July.

“Ukraine needs this because vehicles get damaged, they need to get repaired, they come under fire,” CEO Armin Papperger told Reuters last week.

“We aim to help Ukraine so they can do the maintenance on their vehicles and produce spare parts themselves.”

In encouraging foreign defence firms to produce arms in Ukraine, Kyiv could more efficiently meet its own needs while also building up its defence industry to target global customers at a time when it’s looking to create jobs for Ukrainians.

“The future deterrence of aggression will require a strong defense industry in Ukraine, a strong Ukrainian armed forces,” Boyev said.

“That’s why we think international partners coming to Ukraine, setting up production and making Ukraine part of the security framework for the free world is so essential.”

But former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a close ally of current President Vladimir Putin, has said Russia would retaliate by hitting any facility Rheinmetall set up in Ukraine.

“The decision should be greeted with salvos of Kalibr (cruise missiles) and other Russian pyrotechnic devices,” he said on his official channel on the Telegram messaging app in March after the first media reports of the investment.

  • Reuters