February 19, 2024

How Ukraine Can Help Itself

To reduce its reliance on Western weapons deliveries, Ukraine is increasingly focusing on producing more of its own. The results have been evident, for example, in the Black Sea—where sea drones developed and produced in Ukraine have decimated the Russian fleet—and deep inside Russia itself, where there has been a sharp rise in reported explosions at defense-related facilities and infrastructure, such as refineries and fuel depots. While Kyiv rarely comments on these attacks, they are widely believed to come from Ukrainian-made drones.

The challenge is not how to innovate but how to scale up production, given skilled labor shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, corruption, and Russian attacks.

These Ukrainian successes are important, but turning the tide in the war will require a decisive advantage in firepower on the battlefield, principally artillery munition and strike drones. That, in turn, will require a significant increase in military production not just in Europe and the United States but also in Ukraine itself. The challenge for Kyiv is substantial: Prior to Russia’s 2022 invasion, Ukrainian defense companies specialized in making Soviet-era equipment and struggled to meet the Ukrainian military’s demands for advanced weaponry. That’s why Ukraine’s 2024 defense budget still allocates the majority of procurement funds—about $6.8 billion—to purchases of foreign equipment.

Read the full article from Foreign Policy.

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