A British arms industry executive has commented that there is a race on for Britain to cut the thread “first”
British weapons and military vehicles could soon start being produced in Ukraine under licence, reducing Kiev’s dependence on supplies from its Western allies, according to a report published by the Telegraph on Sunday.
The newspaper — usually well-informed about the intentions of Conservative governments — revealed that British defense industry officials had traveled to Kyiv and discussed plans to set up joint ventures that could undertake the production of British-designed weapons and vehicles inside Ukrainian territory.
Always according to the Telegraph, other European countries are discussing similar agreements with the Ukrainian government. A British arms industry executive has commented that there is a race on for Britain to cut the thread “first”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to London and Paris last Wednesday to ask for more Western weapons for his army to repel a Russian military invasion, including modern fighter jets and long-range weapons.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak assured him that there is “nothing” off the table regarding the supply of aircraft to Ukraine. He also announced that he is starting a training program for Ukrainian pilots in NATO member countries’ fighters.
Other Western countries, however, seem more cautious. Kiev’s allies have so far avoided sending aircraft or other weapons that would allow the Ukrainian armed forces to strike deep into Russian territory.
The Russian embassy in Britain reacted strongly, warning that the delivery of fighter jets from London to Kyiv would have very serious consequences both from a military and political point of view.
Any joint venture between a British arms industry with a Ukrainian one, or with the Ukrainian government, would require the approval of the British government. Any such move would undoubtedly further escalate tensions between London and Moscow, the Telegraph report acknowledges.
Mr Sunak’s offices at 10 Downing Street declined to comment on the newspaper’s report. The Ministry of Defense responded that it had no comment.
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