Today, the war with Russia has reached a turning point – it has become static, or “positional” in military parlance. Neither side has an advantage in weaponry or technology. Such state of affairs carries a huge risk for Ukraine, because our enemy has a larger pool of human resources and can maintain its defense for a long time.

Russia is quickly rebuilding its arms industry: launching and re-equipping factories for the production of military equipment as well as the restoration of equipment damaged on the battlefield. In an interview published in The Economist, the Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny said that we need a technological leap in armaments and air superiority: airplanes, helicopters and drones, new-generation electronic warfare, shells and missiles in sufficient quantity, mine-clearing equipment, etc. But how to obtain it?

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At the beginning of the war, those who could, used their international connections to help Ukraine. They spent weeks communicating, organizing online meetings, and inviting military professionals and politicians to the country. They practically served as mediators between our military leadership and representatives of the US and EU. Since the end spring 2022, as a parliamentarian, I have been negotiating with FFG Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft, KMW, Belgium’s FN – manufacturers of Leopard tanks, Gepard anti-aircraft guns and howitzer shells respectively. Today all these companies help Ukraine through technical assistance programs.

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 26, 2024
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ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 26, 2024

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International defense corporations are interested in cooperating with Ukraine because they understand that the war opens opportunities for technological and financial growth. In turn, Ukraine welcomes Western manufacturers to start production of weapons, shells, missiles, and military helicopters on its territory. This would not only make the process less expensive, but would also eliminate complex logistics when delivering ammunition from abroad.

Since becoming a member of the National Security Committee, I have built strong relationships with corporations that are among the world’s top-10 defense system manufacturers and welcome cooperation with Ukraine – Northrop Grumman and Textron, to name two. They have proposals for the construction of TNT and detonator plants on the territory of Ukraine. Among them there is a company developing projects for relocation of projectile production to Eastern Europe, and potentially Ukraine.

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During the defense forum in the fall of 2023, one of the corporations proposed building a plant that would manufacture their powerful modern helicopters in Ukraine, which are very much needed by our air force. I am currently working on this large-scale agreement.

I am also involved in discussions with the Office of Defense Cooperation at the US Embassy and working on signing the documents that will lay a foundation for a significant investment into Ukraine. It is necessary for construction and inclusion of Ukrainian factories in the global network of manufacturers and maintenance services providers for military equipment.

Another example is transferring F-16 aircrafts, which, as we all know, is a long and complicated process. In order for our military to work effectively with the F-16 complexes, I submitted a proposal to the Minister of Defense to bring experts and consultants for the implementation of this system. These consultants could be the deputy defense ministers of the countries that have already transitioned from MiG-29s to F-16s in Eastern Europe, four-star US generals who commanded F-16 squadrons, F-16 pilots, and Lockheed Martin engineers.

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Large international corporations can help Ukraine not only with scaling, but also with technological breakthroughs in the production of weapons.

What is required for these corporations to open production in Ukraine?

Security of their operations is, of course, the top concern. And to that effect I can say there are certain initiatives underway aimed at bringing international private security corporations that would be licensed to protect businesses and infrastructures in Ukraine. Additionally, they need assurances of the functioning justice system, absence of corruption, effective antimonopoly policies, transparent and business-friendly taxation system.  

It will take time and effort to make the necessary reforms, but I am very grateful to our Western partners for their relentless support and willingness to work with us despite all these challenges.

I must add, however, that there are also advantages of working with Ukraine, such as:

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  • Access to high-quality technical personnel: there are a lot of people with good engineering and tech education who are currently out of work. Unemployment would inevitably drive them to relocate to Europe, where they are unlikely to be employed in their professional capacity due to language and certification barriers, so it is smart to use these people and their expertise in Ukraine.
  • The cost of such highly skilled personnel is much cheaper in Ukraine than it is in the US and Europe.
  • Ukrainians have obtained unprecedented wartime experience and insights, which should be utilized for the benefit of the Western world, not the enemy regimes.
  • Providing assistance to Ukraine was already promised by many Western governments. However, in situations where, due to internal political battles or other reasons, such aid cannot be provided directly from those governments, the least that they can do to preserve their reputation and political image is to endorse building the manufacturing facilities in Ukraine.

We need to actively promote these advantages in the international arena and convey appropriate messages to politicians and businesses abroad striving to achieve our goals.

Vadym Ivchenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker from the Batkivshchyna party, is a member of the Verkhovna Rada’s Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence.

The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.

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Comments (2)

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Vita Le
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Throughout history wars have provided good lessons. Let’s hope that Ukraine will learn hers and will breed new generation of politicians capable of moving from talk to action for the benefit of the country.

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The Truth
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What you do and who you know is irrelevant. Putin will send 5 million orcs into Ukraine in the next 3 or 4 years and there will be no Ukrainian males left alive thereafter. Clear?

Imokru2
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@The Truth, No not clear. Russia is losing right now and eventually will go home with its reptilian tail between its legs.

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