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Foreign partners have pledged $675 million to Ukraine for domestic arms production

by Martin Fornusek July 11, 2024 2:26 PM 2 min read
Bullet casings sit in packets before loading into belts for use in machine guns at Ukroboronprom's (now Ukraine Defense Industry) Mayak manufacturing plant in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 9, 2016. (Vincent Mundy/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Foreign partners have so far pledged to invest around $675 million in the Ukrainian defense industry to arm Kyiv's forces, Ukrainska Pravda reported on July 11, citing data from the Strategic Industries Ministry.

Kyiv has sought to convince allied countries to donate arms to Ukraine's military via direct purchases from Ukrainian companies, as Kyiv's defense budget does not match the capacities of domestic weapons production.

While the currently pledged sum is still a far cry from the $10 billion benchmark presented by Strategic Industries Minister Alexander Kamyshin in May, it shows that the initiative is well underway.

Ukraine aims for foreign partners to invest the $10-billion sum as part of a campaign called Zbroyari: Manufacturing Freedom.

The first country to enter into such an agreement with Ukraine was Denmark, penning the deal on a specialized mechanism in June. Copenhagen's commitment has amounted to $198.5 million, covering – among else – the recently announced 18 pieces of Ukrainian Bohdana howitzers.

18 Bohdana howitzers heading for Ukraine’s battlefield – here’s what they can do
Ukraine’s artillery capabilities have received a welcome boost with the news that 18 Ukrainian-made Bohdana howitzers financed by Denmark will be delivered within the coming months. The purchase of the artillery units is the first step in a new Danish-Ukrainian agreement that donates arms to Kyiv v…

Canada became the second donor-investor, allocating $2.1 million to the purchase of Ukrainian drones. The Netherlands has also joined the initiative, promising to finance 17.5 million euros ($19 million) worth of naval drones and 20 million euros ($21.7 million) worth of first-person view (FPV) drones.

The largest "catch" of the initiative should be 400 million euros ($433 million) from the EU, expected to be allocated under the 1.4-billion-euro tranche from the frozen Russian assets proceeds.

The exact mechanism and other details of the EU pledge remain unclear, Ukrainska Pravda wrote.

There are also efforts to entice countries like the U.K., the U.S., and Germany to participate in the process, which is challenging as all these states boast a well-developed arms industry.

Kyiv hopes to pitch its products as a cheaper but high-quality alternative to convince hesitant buyers.

Ukraine is expanding defense industry cooperation with Western parties on other levels as well. Germany's Rheinmetall recently opened its first armored vehicle plant in Ukraine, planning to open other factories in the near future.

Other arms industry players, such as the U.S. company Northrop Grumman, also plan to set up shop in Ukraine, with the said firm concluding a contract with Ukraine on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington.

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