Goodbye Kalashnikov, Hello NATO – Ukraine’s Manufacturing Faces Westward

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Ukraine is further distancing itself from its former ally and inching closer to the West. The country is now preparing the way for closer cooperation ties between its own security forces and those of NATO by adopting the latter’s standards on weaponry.

“We have set targets for our (weapons) producers to be a world class example and step-by-step, gradually abandon Soviet weapons and move towards Ukrainian-made ones,” said Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov.

UkrOboronProm, the country’s national defence manufacturing concern, has transferred ten new experimental rifles based on the NATO standard to Ukraine’s national guard. “Professional training of snipers is one of the priority tasks, which our military face today, and the National Guard of Ukraine carries it out in line with the high standards of NATO,” Turchynov said.

The new rifle was designed according to the NATO-standard 7.62×54 mm cartridge, sports a 730 mm barrel, and weighs around 4.5 kg. It has a rate of fire of up to 20 shots per minute with a maximum range of 3 km.

This development further solidifies Ukraine’s pull toward the West. Manufacturing of NATO-standard arms will allow Ukraine for closer security cooperation and training with its European and American partners in the future, as well as allowing Ukraine to increase exports to countries reliant on NATO-standard weapons.

Further, the US Department of Commerce has lifted this month sanctions from UkrSpecExport, the exports arm of the national defence manufacturer. The sanctions were imposed in 2013 due to supply of arms to Libya in defiance of UN-imposed embargo on the country. This will further solidify Ukraine’s weapons exports standing.