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ISW: Western air defenses vital for Ukraine’s defense industry growth

Ukraine’s ability to expand its domestic defense industry is also crucial for reducing its dependence on Western aid, particularly from the US, in the long term, according to the Institute for the Study of War .
Credit: UNI Future
ISW: Western air defenses vital for Ukraine’s defense industry growth

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on 12 April that expanding Ukraine’s defense industrial base could enable Ukraine to sustain its defense against Russia and address its long-term security needs with significantly reduced foreign military assistance.

Ukrainian officials have expressed their intention to expand Ukraine’s DIB domestically and abroad since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion. Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said earlier that the increased domestic production of weapons and military equipment is a priority for 2024.

The provision of Western air defense systems to Ukraine is crucial for the country’s ability to establish its defense industry and reduce its dependence on Western aid, particularly from the United States

US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller has stated that the short- and medium-term provision of Western air defenses to Ukraine will be a critical element of Ukraine’s ability to stand up its defense industry.

The ISW assesses that the United States will not need to send large security assistance packages to Ukraine indefinitely if Ukraine can sufficiently expand its defensive industrial capacity.

However, the report said, “the West’s provision of air defense systems and missiles to Ukraine is crucial for Ukraine’s ability to defend its energy infrastructure and its developing defense industry against Russian strikes.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized the importance of Western-provided Patriot air defense systems. Zelensky said Ukraine needs 26 to create a total air shield over Ukraine, but “Kuleba is initially focused on obtaining seven as quickly as possible.”

WP reported, citing Kuleba, that Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry found over 100 available Patriots that its allies have.

Kuleba: Ukraine wants at least 7 Patriot air defense systems

Other takeaways from the report:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that Russia’s ongoing strike campaign against Ukrainian energy facilities aims in part to devastate the Ukrainian defense industry, confirming ISW’s ongoing assessment that Russian strikes against Ukrainian energy facilities aim to degrade Ukrainian defense industrial capacity.
  • Russian forces are domestically producing and fielding a new air-to-surface subsonic cruise missile against Ukraine, designated the Kh-69, as part of continued efforts to improve strike packages and penetrate Ukraine’s degraded air defense.
  • Russia is reportedly sending about 2,400 Eastern Military District (EMD) military personnel currently in Russia to fight in Ukraine to make up for personnel losses at the front.
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