(Reuters) -Ukraine and the United States will hold a military industry conference in Washington on Dec. 6 and 7, Ukrainian and U.S. officials said on Friday.
Kyiv is ramping up efforts to produce its own weapons amid concerns that supplies from the West might be faltering. It also hopes joint ventures with international armament producers can help revive its domestic industry.
Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, said the meeting was “part of the U.S. government’s efforts to significantly increase weapons production to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom and security”.
Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, described the conference as a “very powerful event” to be attended by major defence industry players.
Zelenskiy had earlier spoken of the forthcoming meeting in his nightly video address, saying those participating would be “everyone involved in organising our defence”.
Zelenskiy said Kyiv and Washington were “actively progressing” on joint arms production. He said moves towards joint production would “undoubtedly strengthen both Americans and Ukrainians, as well as our partners”.
In October, Ukraine set up a joint venture with German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall AG to service and repair Western weapons. In September, it hosted an international defence industry forum with more than 250 Western producers.
Zelenskiy said he had also discussed Ukraine’s missile programme with the military on Friday.
“Everyone can see that its results are becoming more long-range and favourable for Ukraine each year,” he said.
(Reporting by Yuliia Dysa; Editing by Louise Heavens, Andrew Heavens and Ron Popeski)