Kremlin warns UK’s BAE Systems: Ukraine base could be target for Russian military

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Friday it took a negative view of British defence contractor BAE Systems’ decision to establish itself in Ukraine, adding that any facilities producing weapons used against Russia would become targets for Moscow’s military.

Asked about the move in a telephone call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Of course, any facilities for the production of weapons, especially if these weapons fire at us, they become objects of special attention for our military.”

The move would not influence the course of conflict in Ukraine, or contribute to a reduction of hostilities, he said.

BAE Systems, Britain’s biggest defence company, said on Thursday it had set up a unit in Ukraine and signed deals with the government to boost Kyiv’s supplies of weapons and equipment.

It said the move would enable BAE to work directly with Kyiv to explore potential partners for a plan to ultimately produce 105mm light guns, a kind of artillery weapon, in Ukraine, and to better understand Ukraine’s defence requirements.

BAE has made much of the equipment provided to Ukraine by Britain and other governments as it fends off Russia’s invasion.

Britain is a key defence supplier for Ukraine and in May became the first country to start supplying Kyiv with long-range cruise missiles.

Western defence companies have been weighing opportunities to make weapons in Ukraine against the possible security risks, Reuters reported in June.

(Writing by Felix Light; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Clarence Fernandez)