Zelensky allocated funds for the domestic production of weapons that could change the course of the war in Ukraine
In an effort to close the gap between Ukrainian and Russian capabilities, the Ukrainian government has launched an ambitious program for the domestic production of drones. The Minister of Defense Oleksy Reznikov told Reuters that the government is partnering with more than 80 domestic drone manufacturers and expanding its drone production program.
"Unmanned aerial vehicles can change the balance of power on the battlefield in the same way that the missile launchers supplied to us by the Western allies changed the game last year," Reznikov said.
Bridging the large gap that exists between Russian and Ukrainian military capabilities is crucial now that an imminent Ukrainian counterattack is expected in the south and east of the country.
For semi-bankrupt Ukraine, whose economy has been decimated by the war and whose government relies on an influx of money from allied countries, producing drones is a relatively cheap way to fight Russia's massive military. The Ukrainian government plans to spend about half a billion dollars on the development and production of domestic drones by the end of the year.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, told Reuters that this year special focus will be placed on the production of kamikaze drones.
Although Ukrainian drones are still technologically behind Russian, as well as Iranian kamikaze drones, which the Russians use to destroy Ukraine's energy infrastructure, Kiev's efforts are becoming increasingly visible. Military experts estimate that domestic companies could supply the Ukrainian army with up to several thousand drones a year, provided funding and parts procurement are stable.
Reznikov says Ukraine has increased its drone production capacity several times since the Russian invasion last February. The Ukrainian government refuses to release precise data on the number and type of drones produced, saying only that their focus is on the development and production of long-range drones, as Western allies are not yet ready to deliver their longer-range missile systems.