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Minister Kamyshin: Ukraine’s defense industry shifting from “give us” to “let’s do it together” model

Minister Kamyshin confirmed missile production is a top priority as Ukraine aims to rebuild defense industries and reduce reliance on arms supplies.
Oleksandr Kamyshin. Credit: Ministry of Strategic Industries
Minister Kamyshin: Ukraine’s defense industry shifting from “give us” to “let’s do it together” model

Ukraine’s defense industry is “starting to operate” again amid Russia’s invasion, according to Minister of Strategic Industries Oleksandr Kamyshin. In an interview with Voice of America during a visit to Washington, D.C., Kamyshin provided an overview of efforts to restart domestic weapons and ammunition production.

Kamyshin, tasked by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with rebuilding defense manufacturing capabilities, said he aims to shift from a “give us” model to a “let’s do this together” approach with US defense firms. He stated he received positive feedback during meetings with officials and companies about opportunities in Ukraine.

The more steps they make, the more opportunities they will see,” Kamyshin remarked, expressing confidence that integrating Ukrainian and American defense industries would benefit both countries.

“I’m sure that integration of Ukrainian and US defense industries would mutually benefit Ukrainian and American companies,” he added.

Kamyshin acknowledged Ukraine still depends heavily on partners, as no one nation can satisfy its battlefield needs. However, restarting domestic production is a key priority.

“The more we produce ourselves, the more we integrate into other countries’ defense sectors,” he emphasized.

Regarding current capabilities, Kamyshin said Ukraine manufactures various weapons and munitions and seeks partnerships with US companies across all segments. He singled out missile production as a top priority assigned by Zelenskyy but declined to provide specifics on timelines or challenges, only stating it is a key focus.

Kamyshin confirmed plans are underway with a British company to license build howitzers in Ukraine next year. He said a German firm will jointly establish a production facility, while a Turkish company has already started construction on a plant.

He argued foreign firms are willing to operate in Ukraine despite the security risks, seeing opportunities for mutual benefit. “I’m confident that the lessons learned from these technologies in Ukraine will be useful for US and global defense capabilities,” he remarked.

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Kamyshin also highlighted Ukraine’s extensive private drone industry, with over 200 companies producing various unmanned aerial, ground, and sea systems. He stated that while most are private firms, some drones are also manufactured by state-owned entities.

Regarding anti-corruption efforts, Kamyshin said he had identified three priority risks at state defense conglomerate Ukroboronprom: non-transparent hiring, opaque procurement procedures, and unclear asset distribution.

Open competitions will now select company directors, supervised by NGOs and embassy representatives. External bodies will monitor procurement, while auctions will handle asset leases. “I’m confident we will achieve success here, too,” Kamyshin reiterated.

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When asked about the state of defense production before he became minister over 200 days ago, Kamyshin cryptically responded, “The defense industry of Ukraine is starting to operate.

Kamyshin also reiterated the recently nationalized Motor Sich aircraft engine manufacturer is under the Defense Ministry’s purview while stating all ministries cooperate closely. He declined additional comment on Motor Sich.

Kamyshin said his motivation is to serve Ukraine by helping build its defense industry. His vision is for the sector to bring victory closer, provide future security and spearhead economic renewal.

“My country is under fire, and it’s my duty to serve my country and help build the defense industry,” he stated.

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