Ukraine and the United States will hold a conference in December to explore military-industrial cooperation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) said on November 17.
Zelenskiy said in his evening address that during his visit to Washington, he and President Joe Biden “agreed on specific steps we can take together” and these steps “will undoubtedly strengthen both Americans and Ukrainians, as well as our partners.”
Specifics of the arrangement were discussed recently with the participation of Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s office, and others on the government team, he said.
“In December of this year, a special conference involving Ukrainian and American industries, government officials, and other state actors will take place — everyone involved in organizing our defense,” Zelenskiy said.
He said Kyiv and Washington are “actively progressing” on the joint arms production issue.
The U.S. government will host the conference on December 6-7, NSC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement.
U.S. and Ukrainian industry and government representatives will use the conference “to explore opportunities for co-production and other industrial cooperation in Ukraine,” she said, adding the event is part of the U.S. government’s “efforts to significantly increase weapons production to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom and security.”
The conference follows the International Defense Industries Forum hosted by Ukraine on September 29 and reinforces long-term commitments to the U.S. defense industrial base, Ukraine’s economic recovery, and “the joint commitment to enhance industrial, armaments, and security cooperation between both nations,” Watson said.
Kyiv has been ramping up efforts to produce its own weapons amid concerns that supplies from the West might slow down. It also hopes joint ventures with international armament producers can help revive its domestic industry.
Efforts to increase military industrial cooperation with other countries is not limited to the United States.
In October, Ukraine set up a joint defense venture with German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall AG to service and repair Western weapons sent to help Kyiv against Russia’s full-scale invasion. The venture will help with the localization of some key equipment produced by Rheinmetall, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said in announcing the venture.
It will bring “cooperation between our countries to a qualitatively new level and will allow us to build together the arsenal of the free world,” Shmyhal said.
Source : Rferl