LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – British arms and military vehicles could be manufactured in Ukraine under licence, easing the country’s dependence on supplies of arms from Western allies, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Sunday.
The Telegraph said British defence industry executives had travelled to Kyiv to discuss plans to set up joint ventures to manufacture weapons and vehicles locally.
Manufacturers from other European countries were also in discussions with Ukraine, it said, citing one executive saying there was a race to put Britain “at the front of the queue”.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy travelled to London and Paris on Wednesday to appeal for more Western arms to repeal the Russian invasion, including modern fighter jets and heavy long range weapons.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told him that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to supplying Ukraine with jets to fight Russia, after he announced a plan to start training Ukrainian pilots to fly NATO-standard fighter jets.
Latest UpdatesView 2 more stories
Western countries, however, have so far stopped short of providing jets or weapons that can strike deep inside Russia.
In response, news agency TASS cited Russia’s embassy to Britain as warning that any delivery of British fighter jets to Ukraine would have serious military and political ramifications.
Any joint venture between a defence manufacturer and Ukraine would likely need British government sign-off, and such a move would further antagonise Moscow, the Telegraph said.
Sunak’s press office at Number 10 Downing Street declined to comment on the report.
The Ministry of Defence also declined to comment.
Reporting by Paul Sandle
Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky