by Olena Harmash
KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine and the United States have reached an agreement to launch joint arms production that could enable Kyiv to produce air defense systems, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky said on Friday.
In his daily address to Ukrainians, Volodimir Zelensky said the long-term deal could create jobs in a new industrial basin in Ukraine, whose economy has been devastated since the Russian invasion.
“It was very important to come to Washington, with very important results,” Volodimir Zelensky said in a video published on the presidential website Friday morning.
“And a long-term agreement – we will work together so that Ukraine produces the necessary weapons with the United States. Co-production in defense with the United States is historic,” he said.
Volodimir Zelensky visited the United States this week where he went to the United Nations and then to Washington.
Kyiv has stepped up efforts to increase its domestic arms production after 19 months of conflict that created immense demand for armory and ammunition.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Strategic Industries, which manages arms production in Ukraine, signed a cooperation agreement with three associations bringing together 2,000 American companies, the Ukrainian president said.
“We are preparing to create a new defense ecosystem with the United States and produce weapons to strengthen our freedom and protect our lives together,” declared Volodimir Zelensy without giving further details.
Ukraine still depends heavily on Western military aid and seeks to reduce this dependence by modernizing and increasing its production of armory for the front.
The Ukrainian president has in the past declared that Ukraine will soon organize an international arms production forum, bringing together around twenty countries.
Ukraine has already concluded several agreements with Central European countries for the repair of Ukrainian tanks and is seeking to expand its production of drones and missiles.
(French version Zhifan Liu, edited by Blandine Hénault)
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