Greece (Brussels Morning)The establishment of a joint defense venture between Ukraine and German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall AG represents an important step forward in Ukrainian attempts to boost its military capabilities and progress during the ongoing conflict with Russia.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal stressed that the venture will deepen Ukraine-German collaboration, bringing it to a “qualitatively new level.” This collaboration is considered as a step toward Ukraine developing stronger defense capabilities with the help of Western allies.
Ukraine’s Minister of Strategic Industries, Oleksander Kamyshyn, has stated his intention to begin local manufacturing of Western weaponry. This action indicates Ukraine’s aim to fulfill its own military demand and retain a level of self-reliance in military manufacturing, especially given the 20-month-long conflict.
Ukraine‘s broader deal-making policy shows that the country is gradually looking to become a worthy ally in NATO and the EU and not just a state that will always ask for assistance.
Developing a strong local armaments industry may significantly enhance the Ukrainian economy. The military industry frequently creates high-skilled jobs, research and development possibilities, and export potential. This can help Ukraine’s economic growth and stability.
Ukraine needed a steady supply of ammunition and military equipment to assist its counteroffensive attempts in the continuing war with Russia. By partnering with Western arms producers, Ukraine may be able to speed up the manufacturing and supply of vital ammunition and equipment to its front-line soldiers.
“Ukraine is in such a phase of the defense marathon when it is very important, critical to go forward without retreating. Results from the frontline are needed daily,” Zelenskiy told to executives representing more than 250 Western weapons producers one month ago.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s announcement to turn Ukraine’s defense industry into a “large military hub” by partnering with Western weapons manufacturers reflects Ukraine’s strategic shift towards enhancing its defense capabilities and self-sufficiency.
“It will be a mutually beneficial partnership. I think it is a good time and place to create a large military hub,” Zelenskiy said during a separate meeting with U.S., British, Czech, German, French, Swedish, and Turkish weapons producers.
Made in Ukraine
The Ukrainians recognize that they will have to upgrade their production line to be able to meet the next day not of war, but of counterattack.
“Signing the agreements and establishing a legal entity in Ukraine builds on our existing trust and support and paves the way for us to work together to provide more direct support to the Ukrainian armed forces,” BAE’s Woodburn said in a statement.
The move will allow BAE to engage directly with Kyiv to identify possible partners for a proposal to eventually manufacture 105mm light guns, a kind of artillery weapon, in Ukraine, as well as better understand Ukraine’s capabilities requirements. BAE, the UK’s largest defense contractor, has produced much of the equipment supplied to Ukraine by the UK and other nations.
During June Western defense companies were interested in making weapons in Ukraine – but not until after the war. This is about to change as the arms industry is not about to leave the Ukrainian market untapped. Not only in terms of production but also supply chain and human resources. The new Ukrainian economy will rely heavily on its defense industry and on exports of weapons left over from the war.
Last March, EU nations committed to supplying a million artillery rounds to Ukraine over the next year as part of a production-boosting scheme. Ukraine may require up to 1.5 million shells per year to continue its combat effort.
In an interview with Politico, Ukraine’s Minister for Strategic Industries Oleksandr Kamyshin stated that Western countries needed to accelerate production of missiles, shells, and military drones as close to frontlines as possible.
“The free world should be producing enough to protect itself,” Kamyshin said, on a mission to the German capital to persuade arms producers to invest in war-ravaged Ukraine. “That’s why we have to produce more and better weapons to stay safe.”
Brussels continues to support Ukraine and is committed to providing a number of arms that are in line with NATO and its Allies. The war in Ukraine unfortunately did not promote the completion of the project of a European Army, but unfortunately the regression of an Army of Europe to the main supplier of NATO. Which doesn’t help NATO in the long run either.