Ukraine held an international defense industry conference as part of an initiative to increase weapons production in the country and lower its dependence on foreign arms imports.
The Defense Industries Forum gathered 250 companies from 30 countries in Kyiv to find ways to boost its domestic arms production, according to reports.
Kyiv has depended heavily on Western aid since Russia invaded in February 2022 but is increasingly seeking to bolster its domestic arms industry amid fears that outside support from its allies in the West will slow down.
“Our first task is to win this war and return a lasting and, most importantly, reliable peace to our people,” said Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky at the opening of the event Friday. “We will accomplish this task through our cooperation with you.
“We are interested in localizing the production of equipment necessary for our defense … and advanced defense systems used by our soldiers that give Ukraine the best results at the front today,” he continued.
The opening of the event was attended by some diplomats, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivering an address via ZOOM.
“Heroism alone cannot intercept missiles. Ukraine needs capabilities, high quality, high quantity, and quickly,” he said. “There is no defense without industry.”