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Привіт, зброє, - Антон Кучухідзе

The Vilnius Summit was a kind of turning point in the history of Ukraine's military-technical cooperation with partner countries. Anton Kuchukhidze, an expert at the United Ukraine Think Tank, writes about this in his article for The Gaze. The text of the article is available below.

In the second year of the second wave of the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine, processes were launched not only to transfer weapons to Ukraine, but also to jointly produce weapons using advanced military technologies. Military assistance from partner countries has allowed Ukraine to gain access to the latest weapons needed to defend its territory and secure its national border. And joint production of weapons should contribute to the development of the Ukrainian military-industrial sector and increase its competitiveness in the international market.

An important component of this process is cooperation with the United States, Britain, and partners from the European Union and NATO. It allows Ukraine to gain access to new technologies and ensure a high level of quality in arms production. This is an enormous benefit for Ukraine's economy and defense sector, but it also makes political sense.

A Turning Point in History

At the Vilnius Summit, following President Zelenskyy's talks with NATO leaders, a historic decision was made that Ukraine would join NATO. This decision is beginning to be backed up by direct military contracts, because there is efficiency in the work of all of Ukraine's defense and security forces, and there is trust in Ukraine. In particular, during a recent press briefing, U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that the weapons Ukraine receives for the front line are used properly and no cases of them falling into the wrong hands have been recorded. The signing of contracts with Turkey, France, the UK, and other NATO member states indicates that the decision of the Vilnius Summit is gradually being implemented.

It is also worth noting that in September, Ukraine hosted an international conference on the defense industry, which is a logical continuation of the Vilnius Summit agenda. This event was a new step in supporting Ukraine, as previously the emphasis in negotiations with partner countries was on the delivery of weapons, repair of damaged equipment, and military training of Ukrainian soldiers, but now attention is increasingly focused on organizing weapons production in Ukraine to repel a full-scale Russian invasion and reduce dependence on external supplies.

For example, in his speech at the opening of the conference, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the participants included representatives of about 250 defense companies from more than 30 countries, as well as their defense ministers and other officials. He also announced the creation of the Defense Industry Alliance and announced that a number of Western companies had already signed the declaration. And in late September, after his visit to the United States, the President of Ukraine in his video address explicitly stated that Ukraine would jointly produce modern weapons, including air defense systems, with the United States.

In view of the above, it is safe to say that the Vilnius Summit was a kind of turning point in the history of Ukraine's military-technical cooperation with partner countries.

The Western Military-Industrial Complex Is Coming to Ukraine

Today, the interest of representatives of the military-industrial complex of partner countries has shifted from assessing opportunities and prospects to searching for Ukrainian counterparts to sign partnership agreements on cooperation.

For example, the German arms manufacturing giant Rheinmetall announced the creation of a joint venture with the Ukrainian state-owned concern Ukroboronprom to produce armored vehicles and tanks in Ukraine. Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger expressed a desire to produce the next generation of Panther tanks in Ukraine - up to 400 tanks per year. Panther will be the successor to the company's main battle tank Leopard 2. At the end of September, the German Federal Cartel Office Bundeskartellamt removed administrative barriers to the creation of a joint venture between Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH and Ukroboronprom. An application for authorization from other relevant agencies has already been submitted and is expected to be received in the near future. The first step of cooperation between the companies will focus on the maintenance and repair of vehicles transferred to Ukraine under the multilateral Ringtausch program (German government equipment exchange), as well as those directly supplied by Germany to Ukraine. In the next stages, the partners intend to jointly manufacture selected Rheinmetall products in Ukraine.

At the end of August this year, the British BAE Systems announced that it had signed two cooperation agreements with the Ukrainian government. The first agreement reinforces BAE Systems' support for Ukraine and paves the way for the company to work with the Ukrainian Armed Forces to understand and support their future force structure and capability requirements, and to help revitalize Ukraine's industrial base.

The second agreement builds on this support and creates a framework for BAE Systems to work directly with Ukraine to identify potential partners and how this can ultimately contribute to the production of the 105mm light gun in the country. Other weapons to be produced in Ukraine include the L119 light field guns, which use NATO-standard 155 mm ammunition and have been in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine for a year.

To speed up the launch of weapons production in partnership with domestic manufacturers, BAE Systems has already opened an office in Ukraine. It should be noted that the conclusion of both agreements took place a few days after Ukraine and Sweden signed a joint statement of intent to strengthen cooperation in the production, operation, training and maintenance of the CV90 platform, which is currently being manufactured by Swedish company Hägglunds BAE Systems.

For their part, a number of French defense contractors, with the assistance of French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu, have signed agreements with Ukraine on joint production of artillery, armored vehicles, drones, and demining assistance. In particular, the French company Arquus signed a letter of intent to provide maintenance of armored personnel carriers and build production facilities in Ukraine. Nexter, a manufacturer of the Caesar self-propelled howitzer, is looking for a Ukrainian partner to create a joint venture, according to its CEO, Nicolas Chamussey. French startup Vistory plans to visit two 3D printing factories to produce spare parts for military equipment in Ukraine. Turgis & Gaillard has signed an agreement with the Ukrainian enterprise Antonov to jointly produce a smaller and cheaper version of the Aarok MALE drone.

Our neighbors, NATO member states Poland and Turkey, are also interested in deepening military and technical cooperation with Ukraine. For example, Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa, together with Ukroboronprom, has established a technological center for the repair of T-64 tanks in Gliwice. It is expected that PT-91, T-72, and Leopard 1 and 2 tanks will also be serviced there in the future.

The Turkish company Baykar plans to finance three projects in Ukraine for $100 million in a year and a half - a drone manufacturing plant, a service center, and the headquarters of its Ukrainian branch. According to Baykar CEO Haluk Bayraktar, construction has already begun.

"All these are steps that cement the political decisions made earlier, because to put a military plant of NATO or a NATO member on the territory of Ukraine means creating a military-strategic facility of a foreign state on our territory, which will be protected by all the intelligence and special services of that state at a minimum.


Eradicating the Russian threat is a common task for Ukraine and NATO. Therefore, we need to counteract the toxic but resource-rich enemy that is Russia in many ways - from sanctions pressure on the Russian Federation and diplomatic efforts to guarantee China's non-interference on its side to deepening and strengthening military and technical assistance and equipping the Armed Forces with modern high-tech weapons. This is a mutually beneficial path for Ukraine and the West.

Source: "The Gaze"

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