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Zelensky: Ukraine triples weapons production in 2023

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 27, 2023 6:13 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to Ukrainian defense industry workers and representatives on Dec. 27, 2023. (Office of the President of Ukraine)
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Ukraine tripled its domestic production of equipment and weapons in 2023 compared to the year before, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Dec. 27.

Amid rising uncertainty surrounding military aid from key partners like the U.S., Ukraine is looking to increase its own weapons production capacity.

Speaking at a meeting with Ukrainian defense industry workers, Zelensky said there has also been an "extremely significant" increase in domestic ammunition production, especially for artillery.

The production of drone ammunition is being "systematically expanded," Zelensky said. In 2024, "special attention will be paid to the production of explosives and gunpowder, which are in short supply in the world."

The state will also continue to simplify bureaucratic procedures for importing weapons and equipment, "from the import of components to the process of admission to operation, and the government is working to ensure the financing of long-term contracts."

According to Zelensky, Ukraine's defense complex will become further integrated with the international defense system. In 2023, Ukraine joined forces with German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall to repair Western-produced military vehicles and ultimately produce them domestically in Ukraine.

The joint Rheinmetall-Ukrainian Defense Industry enterprise was registered on Oct. 18. "The creation of a joint enterprise is, without exaggeration, a landmark event that takes cooperation between our countries to a qualitatively new level," Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.

Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger said on Dec. 2 that the company plans to build the first armored vehicles on-site in Ukraine in the summer of 2024.

Later in December, Ukrainian and U.S. officials signed a statement of intent on the co-production of weapons.

The agreement between Kyiv and Washington will reportedly contribute to the construction of production facilities in Ukraine to supply the military with arms, in particular air defense equipment and ammunition, as well as repair and maintenance services.

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