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British Arms Maker BAE Systems Sets Up in Ukraine

The British defence company BAE Systems is setting up a local entity in Ukraine and has signed deals with its government to help ramp up its supply of weapons and equipment.

BAE said it would work directly with Kyiv to explore potential partners for a plan to ultimately produce 105mm light artillery guns in Ukraine and to better understand Ukraine’s requirements.

As the UK’s biggest defence contractor, BAE has manufactured much of the equipment that Britain and other governments have provided to Ukraine as it fends off Russia’s invasion.

Britain is a key defence supplier for Ukraine and in May became the first country to start supplying Kyiv with long-range cruise missiles.

“The best weapons that are currently helping our warriors defend Ukraine should be produced in Ukraine,” the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, tweeted after a meeting with the BAE chief executive, Charles Woodburn.

“The development of our own weapons production is a top priority.”

Zelenskiy had said in May the two sides were working on opening a BAE office in Ukraine.

Kyiv is eager to boost its arsenal, from drones and munitions to tanks, while also trying to boost job opportunities in an economy ravaged by war.

BAE, which has benefited from increased defence spending as a result of the conflict, is already providing training and repair services to Ukraine’s armed forces.

Ukraine has also signed a statement of intent with Sweden to strengthen cooperation in the production and operation of the CV90 family of armoured vehicles, made by a Swedish unit of BAE.

Western defence companies have been weighing opportunities to make weapons in Ukraine against the possible security risks.

A Ukraine-based armaments company, Ukrainska Bronetekhnika or Ukrainian Armor, has in the past week separately announced it has fully resumed production and delivered more than 600 mortar guns to the Ukrainian military.

“Since the beginning of a full-fledged invasion, part of our production capacity in the east of the country was captured by the enemy,” said Vladislav Belbas, the CEO of Ukrainian Armor. “We have found a way to resume production cycles, conduct qualification tests and launch the production of 60mm, 82mm and 120mm mortars at relokovanih [relocated] sites.”

The company has also said it is producing ammunition in partnership with manufacturers in several European countries, with an initial thousand 122mm artillery shells delivered within the past week. Ukrainian Armor also produces Varta and Novator armoured vehicles.

Source : TheGuardian