British military equipment maker BAE Systems has set up a legal entity in Ukraine as it looks to offer “more direct support” to the country at war with Russia.

“BAE Systems... has established a local legal entity and signed agreements with the Ukrainian government to ramp up the company’s support to Ukraine’s armed forces and to explore the supply of light guns to Ukraine,” said a statement published late Thursday.

It comes after BAE recently announced a 57-percent jump in net profits for the first half on higher defence spending by Western governments in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

BAE chief executive Charles Woodburn said its latest announcement “paves the way... to provide more direct support to the Ukrainian armed forces”.

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The company added that it “creates a framework for BAE Systems to work directly with Ukraine to explore potential partners and how it could ultimately facilitate the production of 105mm Light Guns in the country”.

Oleksandr Kamyshin, Ukraine’s minister for strategic industry, hailed the UK group “for the bold decision to stand side by side with us in the fight against Russian aggression and building the future of the Ukrainian defence industry.

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