By Dave DeCamp, AntiWar.com
The plant is expected to be opened within the next 12 weeks.
Rheinmetall, Germany’s leading arms maker, will open a plant to manufacture tanks and other armored vehicles in Ukraine within the next 12 weeks as the West is looking to boost Ukraine’s weapons industry.
Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger told CNN that the company will also train Ukrainians how to use and maintain the tanks they manufacture at the plant. He said Ukrainians need to learn how to “help themselves” and cannot rely on Europeans and Americans for maintenance.
The German company will operate the factory with Ukroboronprom, a Ukrainian state-owned defense firm. Papperger said the facility will be located in western Ukraine.
Other Western arms companies are looking to establish factories in Ukraine, and Russia has warned that it could target the plants. Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chair of Russia’s security council, warned in June that Russia should respond to Western arms manufacturing in Ukraine with “salvos of Kalibr (cruise missiles) and other Russian pyrotechnic devices.”
Papperger insisted that the Rheinmetall plant would be able to be protected from any Russian attacks. “There are a lot of factories at the moment which are producing military goods [in Ukraine]. It is just another one — and we can protect that also,” he said.
The war in Ukraine has been a boon for Rheinmetall and other Western arms makers. Papperger said that the focus right now is producing more artillery rounds, and his company is working on ramping up its annual production of shells from 100,000 to 600,000.