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The U.K.'s largest arms company, BAE Systems, has opened an office in Ukraine to launch weapons production in partnership with domestic manufacturers, the Ministry of Strategic Industries reported on Aug. 31.
Among the weapons to be made in Ukraine are L119 light field guns, which use NATO-standard 155 mm ammunition. Ukrainian forces are already using dozens of L119 howitzers sent by London last year.
On Aug. 30, President Volodymyr Zelensky met with the head of BAE Systems, Charles Woodburn, and the company's management, thanking them for opening the Ukrainian office ahead of Independence Day.
"The best weapons that currently help our soldiers defend Ukraine should be produced in Ukraine. The development of own weapons production is a top priority," Zelensky said on Telegram.
At the meeting, the Ministry of Strategic Industries, the Ministry of Defense, and BAE Systems signed documents confirming the company's decision to develop arms production in Ukraine.
"BAE Systems wants to be a reliable partner of Ukraine in the war for freedom and independence, as well as in building a strong and sustainable technological defense-industrial complex to effectively prevent future aggression attempts," said Woodburn.
BAE Systems is the largest defense contractor in Europe, with its main operations based in the U.K. and the U.S. The company produces a wide variety of weapons, including M2/M3 Bradley fighting vehicles, Typhoon fighter jets, Archer artillery systems, Challenger 2 tanks, M777 howitzers, and others.