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UK Trade Mission to Kyiv

Library image from 2021of HMS Shoreham, a former Royal Navy Sandown-class Mine Counter-Measures Vessel now commissioned into Ukrainian Navy service as M311 Cherkasy [Crown Copyright: Lt Nicholas Stevenson]

UK Trade Mission to Kyiv boosts defence cooperation ~ UK Government and UK defence industry conduct their first trade mission to Ukraine.

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Press Release, Whitehall, 18 December 2023: Ukraine’s defences and UK-Ukraine trade links have been strengthened by a UK Government-led trade mission to the country.

Led by the Department for Business and Trade and Ministry of Defence, the joint trade mission took place on 13-14 December and built on the UK’s sustained and continuous support to Ukraine’s defence since Putin’s invasion in 2014. Meetings in Kyiv followed discussions at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London in September regarding potential partnerships between UK and Ukraine defence and security companies.

UK Trade Mission to Kyiv press release image ~ no higher quality made available [© Zinchenko]

Opened by Ukrainian Defence Minster Umerov, the trade mission brought together UK and Ukrainian government officials with key stakeholders from UK and Ukrainian industry to discuss opportunities for long-term cooperation. Following meetings between the UK defence companies and the Ukrainian Government, agreements have been signed, including:

  • Babcock being awarded a three-year contract by the Ukraine Ministry of Defence to support and maintain two mine countermeasures vessels ‘Cherkasy’ and ‘Chernihiv’ for the Navy of Ukraine, following their transfer from the UK Royal Navy. This follows the establishment of Babcock Ukraine, with the opening of an office in-country where a dedicated team will focus on supporting Ukraine and industry partners.
  • BAE Systems and AMS Integrated Solutions Ltd signed an agreement that will enable them to offer specialised artillery systems support directly to Ukrainian Armed Forces in Ukraine. Under the agreement, artillery systems donated by the UK Government could be repaired and maintained in AMS’ existing maintenance centres in Ukraine, where it employs Ukrainian engineers.
  • Thales signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ukrainian Unmanned Aerial Systems business, Aerodrone, which will bring together the best of Ukrainian and Northern Irish engineering to deliver new capability for Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

Ukraine has the facilities, pedigree, people, and skills to produce high quality military hardware, and has a clear interest in establishing partnerships with Western defence companies to rebuild its defence industrial base and help Ukraine win the war. More widely, total trade in goods and services between the UK and Ukraine amounted to £1.5 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2023. Increasing trade will create jobs in both our countries and help sustain Ukraine’s recovery and resilience.

Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge said: “This successful UK trade mission is another pillar in our unwavering support to Ukraine as they regain their territory.

“The UK Government and UK industry will continue to work hand-in-glove with our Ukrainian allies, seizing opportunities for collaboration and bolstering our defence industries.”

Industry Minister, Nusrat Ghani said: “As Minister for Ukraine Reconstruction, I know the significant opportunity for greater collaboration between our world-class defence sector and Ukraine, and I’m delighted to see our first trade mission to Kyiv completed as we help Ukraine develop defence production capacity of its own.

“A financially robust and technologically advanced Ukraine will be vital for victory against Putin and his illegal invasion of the country, and by building these partnerships with industry we’re sharing expertise, building resilience and boosting jobs, investment and prosperity.

This trade mission sought to strengthen ties with UK industry, and support Ukrainian ambition to become the Arsenal of the Free World.

Mark Goldsack, Director of UK Defence and Security Exports said: “Despite Putin’s barbaric invasion, Ukraine remains resilient, optimistic, and focused on victory.

“The UK’s first trade delegation to Kyiv saw the energetic desire from all parties to help Ukraine take back their land. With agreements already signed with our defence industry, the work will help boost resilience for both our industrial bases for years to come.”

Andy Start, DE&S CEO and UK National Armaments Director said: 2UK Defence Industry has supported Ukraine from the start of the war and delivered world-class defence equipment. Developing strong partnerships with Ukraine’s substantial defence industry, will allow the sharing of substantial knowledge gained in combat conditions. Together we can increase collective capacity to deliver the mission winning defence systems we all need.

The businesses that attended the trade mission included BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales, AMS Global, and KBR. There will be opportunity for other UK defence companies to attend future trade missions in 2024.

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