Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has opened Kyiv’s first International Defence Industries Forum, in a bid to attract more manufacturers to build arms in Ukraine.
Kyiv has depended heavily on Western aid since Russia invaded last year, but is; increasingly seeking to bolster its domestic arms industry; amid fears support from its allies may waver.
“Our first task is; to win this war and return a lasting and, most importantly, reliable peace to our people. We will accomplish this task through our cooperation with you,” Zelensky said in a speech at the opening on Friday.
“We are interested in localising the production of equipment; necessary for our defence… and advanced defence systems used by our soldiers; that give Ukraine the best results at the front today,” he said.
Officials from over 30 countries and 250 defence firms were; gathered for the forum, which comes as Zelensky lobbies the West for more arms to wage a counteroffensive against Russia.
Kyiv launched its pushback to regain occupied territory in June but has acknowledged slow progress as its troops encounter lines of heavily fortified Russian defences.