President of Ukraine

The delegation of Ukraine took part in the USA – Ukraine Defense Industrial Base Conference, which began in Washington, DC

6 December 2023 - 23:01

The delegation of Ukraine took part in the USA – Ukraine Defense Industrial Base Conference, which began in Washington, DC

The USA – Ukraine Defense Industrial Base Conference kicked off in Washington, D.C., with the participation of Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk, Minister of Defense Rustem Umerov, and Minister for Strategic Industries Oleksandr Kamyshin.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the participants of the event online. In his address, the Head of State noted that thanks to brave Ukrainian defenders, weapons from partners and consolidation of the free world, Ukraine managed to defend its independence and liberate about 50% of the territories occupied by Russia, and this year it won the battle with the Russian fleet in the Black Sea and ensured the operation of the "grain corridor".

According to him, despite the war, our country is showing economic growth.

“Our defense productions are working: Ukrainian missiles, Ukrainian drones, artillery produced in Ukraine, ammunition – they are being delivered to the frontline. Moreover, we are increasing production together with our partners,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

The Head of State reminded that during his recent visit to the United States, he had spoken with President Joseph Biden about the launch of joint defense projects that would be important for the security of the whole of Europe.

“We are interested in joint production with you of the full spectrum of weapons necessary for modern warfare – artillery, armored vehicles, drones. Maintenance and service of equipment… Security on land, in the sky, and at sea. Ukraine does not want to depend only on partners – Ukraine aims and really can become a donor of security for all our neighbors once it can guarantee its own safety. We really can do this,” the President emphasized.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited all American defense companies to cooperate with Ukraine.

Head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak, who spoke live at the conference, recalled how Javelin set ablaze Russian tank convoys on the outskirts of Kyiv, how Patriot systems created a reliable shield over Ukrainian cities from Russian missiles, how HIMARS and ATACMS destroyed strategically important enemy targets.

“Unfortunately, I can't mention every weapon and piece of equipment that help us in the war against Russian tyranny. But I assure you: Ukrainian defense forces are making good use of them,” he said.

Andriy Yermak emphasized that Ukrainians will not stop until they liberate all the territories captured by Russia.

“At the same time, I need to point out that having such an aggressive neighbor like Russia, Ukraine cannot and will not entirely depend on foreign providers of military aid. We must take care of our own defense capability. Moreover, we have our own weapons to be proud of,” he noted.

The Head of the President's Office added that the Ukrainian defense industry today relies on young people who are not afraid of the new and often make prototypes in their garages and then successfully scale up production.

“Ukraine needs the localization of modern weapons production to fight successfully. Europe needs to strengthen its capabilities to deter the aggressor. The United States needs greater industrial power to remain the beacon of global democracy. We came here with a very specific goal – to establish cooperation. First of all, I'm talking about ammunition, air defense systems, and long-range missiles. Back home, they say that the good should have strong fists. However, to stop the new axis of evil, fists alone are not enough,” Andriy Yermak stressed.

Ukraine was also represented by Ruslan Stefanchuk, Rustem Umerov and Oleksandr Kamyshin.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, speaking at the conference, emphasized the importance of supporting Ukraine's defense capabilities, including through further supplies of equipment and training of the Ukrainian military.

"Your fight is our fight. Your success on the battlefield is crucial not only for you, but also for the security of Europe," she said.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, for his part, emphasized that today the United States, together with its allies and partners, must continue their work to give the Ukrainian state the power to repel the Russian invasion and to resist potential Russian aggression in the years to come.

"We have already invested about $27 billion in the production of critical capabilities for Ukraine, including air defense systems, munitions, tactical vehicles, and more. And I hope that the Congress will soon pass the President's urgent national security supplemental request, which would direct an additional $50 billion to U.S. industrial base," Lloyd Austin said.

U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine's Economic Recovery Penny Pritzker noted that one of the key elements of U.S. security assistance is economic support for Ukraine.

"We need to work together with Ukrainians to expedite reforms and promote the development of key infrastructure needed to boost economic growth and increase exports," the Special Representative said.

According to Penny Pritzker, it is imperative to take into account Ukraine's industrial potential, especially in sectors such as agriculture, IT, energy, transportation and logistics, and defense production.

She is convinced that the future of Ukraine is a sustainable, digitalized, competitive European state that is able to defend itself and has a strong defense industry.

The USA - Ukraine Defense Industrial Base Conference is taking place in Washington, D.C., on December 5-6, with the support of the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Representatives of U.S. and Ukrainian companies and government agencies are discussing opportunities to cooperate and bolster Ukraine's defense industry. This event will signal the U.S. official support for high-level industrial cooperation to develop Ukraine's industry, which will contribute to the long-term support and re-equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.