Ukraine increases use of domestic-made military equipment, official says

By Thomson Reuters Feb 29, 2024 | 11:04 AM

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine has significantly increased its use of domestic-made weapons and military equipment, a senior defence official said on Thursday, as Kyiv aims to become more self-sufficient amid faltering Western military aid.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called for Ukraine to strengthen its domestic defence industry as it struggles to fend off Russia’s two-year-old invasion and faces potential cuts in military aid from the U.S., its biggest backer.

Deputy Defence Minister Ivan Havryliuk said 46 types of domestically produced equipment had been sent to the armed forces during the first two months of 2024, an amount he said was “significantly more” than in the same period last year.

“We are doing every we can so that Ukraine over time becomes as self-sufficient as possible in providing the defence forces with the necessary weapons,” he said in a statement.

Havryliuk also called for Kyiv’s foreign partners to boost investment and participation in joint production with Ukrainian companies.

Ukraine has signed dozens of contracts for joint production or technology exchanges with Western allies.

German defence company Rheinmetall, one of the world’s biggest producers of artillery and tank shells, said this month it would open an ammunition factory in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said on Sunday that some 50% of arms deliveries from Kyiv’s partners arrive late.

(Reporting by Dan Peleschuk; Editing by Paul Simao)