Ukraine launches joint artillery shell production with a NATO country
KYIV, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Ukraine's state arms producer said on Wednesday it had launched joint production of artillery shells with a central European country in NATO, and that it plans to develop and produce other arms and military hardware with allies.
Ukroboronprom, which did not identify the NATO member state, said it had started producing 120-mm mortar rounds -- ammunition that is in high demand in Ukraine as it battles Russian troops following Moscow's invasion a year ago.
"The emergence of this shell is the first product of our joint cooperation with a country from the (NATO) alliance. It will not end with shells, we will soon show you other products produced with partner countries," Ukroboronprom spokeswoman Natalia Sad told a news briefing.
"This is the onward movement and integration into cooperative chains with the North Atlantic alliance."
She said she would not identify the NATO country Ukroboronprom was working for security reasons, though she confirmed it was in central Europe.
Sad said Ukroboronprom had increased production on different types of military equipment by five to eight times last year compared with 2021. Companies were working round the clock to produce ammunition and keep supplies flowing, she said.
Ukraine has also depended heavily on weapons and ammunition supplies from its Western allies during the war.
Sad said 10 Ukroboronprom staff had been killed at work during the war, with Russia constantly shelling arms production facilities. Some of the facilities had been completely destroyed, she said, forcing the company to move production to safer areas.
Sad said mobile repair teams were carrying out 90-95% of all repairs of military equipment and armoured vehicles near the frontlines. When damage was severe, equipment was sent to production sites.
"We manage mostly on our own, but we are expanding this with the help of our partners, because we want it to be even faster,” she said.
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