Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has confirmed negotiations with British defense giant BAE Systems to establish a weapons production facility in Kyiv.
The factory will facilitate the local manufacture of arms and equipment to build the country’s military arsenal to resist Russian forces.
According to Zelensky, the potential venture would help address the continuing need for a wide range of weapons, such as tanks and artillery systems, amid heavy fighting in some strategic locations in Ukraine.
“This is a truly large-scale weapons manufacturer — the weapons that we need now and that we will need in the future to ensure the security of our country and the entire region,” he said, as quoted by Evening Standard.
Both parties have reportedly agreed to begin by opening a BAE Systems office in the war-torn nation.
Once the office is established, the company will immediately create and operate local repair and production facilities.
A Major Regional Hub
Since the start of the war in February last year, Ukraine has relied on weapons and equipment supplied by the US and other Western allies.
The US Defense Department revealed that the total of Washington’s security assistance to Kyiv has reached $37.6 billion.
Despite receiving multiple weapons, such as howitzers and anti-tank missiles, Zelensky still wants Ukraine to have the capacity to produce more arms.
He said that Ukraine is ready to become a regional hub for the repair and production of BAE Systems defense equipment and provide Europe “with this new foundation of strength.”
Company chief executive Charles Woodburn called it a “privilege” to be part of the ongoing discussion of how to provide more support to Ukraine.
He also stated that the British firm is exploring how it could further help the Ukrainian government revitalize its defense industrial base to ensure long-term security.