Government plans closer ties with arms industries of Belarus, Kazakhstan
The Russian arms industry has developed a plan to replace its Ukrainian suppliers, lost during the latest crisis in this country, with companies in Belarus and Kazakhstan, an influential Russian daily reports.
Deputy PM in charge of the defense sector, Dmitry Rogozin, earlier announced the Russian government would prepare a plan on import replacement in conventional weapons and present it to the President.
On Friday the mass circulation daily Izvestia reported the plan was ready and will be presented as soon as Monday.
One of the major points of the document is a set of measures to minimize the damage caused by the loss of many strategic partners located in Ukraine. These enterprises, built during the Soviet Era, continued to work alongside Russian weapons producers, providing money and jobs for the Ukrainian economy. According to the former Ukrainian government plenipotentiary for relations with Russia, Valery Muntiyan, before the crisis about 400 Russian defense contractors used materials and components produced in Ukraine, and 70 percent of all companies supplying the Ukrainian defense industry are located in Russia.
As the new Kiev regime started severing economic contact with Moscow, President Vladimir Putin urged Russian officials to ensure defense orders are fulfilled, and start replacing Ukrainian suppliers with domestic production or imports from other countries.
Izvestia quoted an unnamed source in the Presidential Administration as saying that the government plan suggests starting new defense enterprises in Russia and also attracting partners from Belarus and Kazakhstan. The source noted that as far as hi-tech production was concerned Russian companies did not suffer from “critical dependence” from foreign makers.
The newspaper also quoted Deputy PM Rogozin as saying that the government draft had already been approved by the Defense Ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. He said the plan would not require any serious increase in funding, but most likely the authorities would have to put up with delays in some projects, such as the construction of modern combat ships.
Editor-in-chief of National Defense magazine, Igor Korotchenko has estimated that Russian industry needs about two and a half years to start making everything that had been bought from Ukraine. He said the cost and inconvenience caused by the shift would be well compensated for with future independence of national weapon makers.