BAE Systems, the UK’s naval vessel and fighter plane manufacturer, has finalised an agreement that would pave the way for the production of British-designed light artillery in Ukraine.
Following a meeting in Kyiv between its CEO, Charles Woodburn, and Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, the prominent defence business listed on the FTSE 100 has agreed to establish a legal entity within Ukraine.
Mr Woodburn stated that this agreement “paves the way for us to work together to provide more direct support to the Ukrainian armed forces,” implying that BAE plans to expand into local manufacturing and create direct contracts with the Ukrainian military.
Ukraine’s Minister for Strategic sector, Oleksandr Kamyshin, expressed gratitude to BAE Systems for its firm commitment to stand beside Ukraine against Russian aggression and help shape the country’s defence sector.
Under authorised licencing arrangements, Ukrainian defence enterprises might manufacture BAE Systems weaponry, or they could engage in localised assembly of components manufactured elsewhere.
Other options include establishing joint enterprises within Ukraine.
In the case of a domestic facility, this decision would be based on significant investigation, and the exact site would most likely be protected as a security measure.
BAE Systems now provides a substantial amount of equipment given to Ukraine’s armed forces through contributions from Western governments.
It includes Swedish-made equipment such as the M109 self-propelled howitzers, the M777 artillery unit, and the truck-mounted Archer system.
On Wednesday, a four-hour wave of drones that Moscow blamed on Ukraine hit an airport near Russia’s border with Estonia and Latvia, damaging four Il-76 military transport planes, according to local reports.
The airport is in Russia’s Pskov region, about 400 miles north of the Ukrainian border.
In all, six Russian regions were targeted in the barrage amid the 18 month-long war.
Kyiv officials normally neither claim nor deny responsibility for attacks on Russian soil, though they sometimes refer obliquely to them. Zelensky’s remark was the clearest hint that Ukraine was behind the strike.
The attack forced the closure of Pskov airport, though it reopened Thursday, according to Russian transport officials.
Another drone intercepted overnight near Moscow resulted in flight delays at several airports around the Russian capital, officials said Thursday.
No injuries were reported.