Global death firm BAE Systems to set up factory in Ukraine

NLAW, Ukraine
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The Ukrainian government and global arms firm BAE Systems are in talks to set up a factory in the country. Details of the deal are hazy beyond initial announcements, but the global arms trade has profited massively from the war in Ukraine.

Reuters news agency was among the first to pick up on the story. Its article showed Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky in a video call with BAE Systems bosses.

Massive manufacturer

Zelensky told reporters in an evening video address of his plans for work with BAE as part of the war effort:

It is indeed a massive manufacturer of weaponry, the kind of weaponry that we need now and will continue to need.

He added:

We are working on establishing a suitable base in Ukraine for production and repair. This encompasses a wide range of weaponry, from tanks to artillery.

Exactly what the factory will do is unclear. But BAE CEO Charles Woodburn, representing his firm on the call, said:

Read on...

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It was a privilege to speak with President Zelensky as part of ongoing discussions about the support we’re providing to Ukraine.

We’re proud to be working with our government customers to provide equipment, training and support services to the Ukrainian armed forces.

He seemed to suggest that BAE could be a central part of Ukraine’s post-war economy

We’re also exploring how we could support the Ukrainian government as it revitalizes the country’s defense industrial base to ensure their long-term security.

The death trade

UK arms firms, including BAE, made gigantic profits in the last period. This was due to both general global instability and the Ukraine war specifically. Campaign Against the Arms Trade reported in May that UK firms made £8.5bn in profits in 2022.

This included arms to repressive regimes such as the Gulf states. The UK has been particularly belligerent in its own exports to Ukraine. Its most recent delivery was of long-range missiles which can penetrate deep into Russian territory.

There’s no doubt that a BAE facility will be welcomed by many. But it must be borne in mind that arms firms have an active interest in war and warmongering. And BAE’s suggestion that it wants to integrate itself into Ukraine’s future economy should be treated with suspicion.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/General Staff, cropped to 1910 x 1000, licenced under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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