16:39 21 Jul 2023

Rheinmetall arms maker to open tank factory in Ukraine dismissing Russia's threat to destroy facility

Гендиректор Rheinmetall Армін Паппергер. Фото: dpa

Armin Papperger, CEO of the German arms maker Rheinmetall, dismissed Russian intentions to destroy the planned tank facility, he says to Bild

On July 20, the Russian foreign ministry said the Rheinmetall plant would, if built, be a "legitimate target" for its military.

For us at Rheinmetall, the key task is to support our Ukrainian partners in the fight for freedom and democracy and to meet their urgent needs as soon as possible.

Papperger said that Rheinmetall would not abandon its plans to set up a plant in Ukraine. The arms maker plans to protect it from attacks with German-made air defense systems.

Rheinmetall is already collaborating with Ukraine's Ukroboronprom, which already has a large number of locations for production. With this state-owned company, the German arms maker is establishing a joint venture in which they will hold a majority of shares.

Ammunition, armored vehicles, and Panther main battle tanks are due to roll off the Ukrainian production line.

The plant is expected to produce up to 400 battle tanks annually and repair Fuchs armored vehicles.

The German company expects to sign contracts for two more joint ventures to produce ammunition and air defense.

Rheinmetall is Germany's largest arms manufacturer. The company is one of the three largest manufacturers of military equipment and ammunition in the Western world. Currently, Rheinmetall's stock market value is over ten billion euros.

Germany's biggest arms maker will also train Ukrainians to maintain the tanks and other armored vehicles made in the factory, which will be located in the western part of the country.

Ukrainians have to help themselves — if they always have to wait for Europeans or Americans to help them over the next 10 or 20 years… that is not possible, he said.

The decision comes as former Russian President Dmitrii Medvedev threatened last month to strike the prospective tank factory.

Dismissing the threat, Papperger said that the company would be protected from Russian strikes. 

He had earlier suggested that an air defense system could protect the factory from potential Russian strikes.


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