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First International Forum of Defense Industries (DFNC1) took place in Ukraine

The large-scale event with the slogan “building the arsenal of the free world together” was held on 29 September 2023 in Kyiv. It brought together about 252 military companies from more than 30 countries.

The speech of President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy at the First International Forum of Defense Industries.
Photo: Presidential Office of Ukraine

Manufacturers of tanks, artillery, drones, and ammunition, developers of innovative software, and owners of complex technologies from partner countries took part in the event. They had a unique opportunity to exchange their experience and agree on cooperation with the Ukrainian state and private enterprises of the military-industrial complex.

The forum was jointly organized by three Ukrainian ministries: the Ministry of Strategic Industries, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Ukraine has the necessary base to build a powerful defense-industrial complex. Ukrainian enterprises are already producing artillery ammunition and cartridges, artillery systems of NATO caliber 155 mm, as well as unique automated systems: naval drones, long-range UAVs, missiles, and anti-tank systems, which are effectively used at the front. The rate of development of Ukrainian production and technologies is constantly increasing,” stated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, summarizing the DFNC1.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, the Minister of Defense,
Rustem Umerov, and the Minister for Strategic Industries, Oleksandr Kamyshin,
at the First International Forum of Defense Industries.
Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

The forum guests were addressed by President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy, Head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine Andrii Yermak, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, and the Ukrainian ministers. In addition, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and some other members of partner countries made special video messages.

During the forum, Ukraine’s representatives signed 20 documents with foreign partners, including agreements and memorandums on the manufacture of drones, on the repair and production of armored vehicles and ammunition. Future cooperation formats will include joint production, exchange of technologies, and supply of components.

“Localization of production in Ukraine will make it possible to attract a wide range of technologies, ideas, solutions and receive weapons tested in real combat conditions,” emphasized the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

Furthermore, during the event, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced several new initiatives to strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities.

First of all, a special economic regime will be introduced for the Ukrainian defense industry with a detailed plan to be presented by the end of the current year. Secondly, the Defense Fund will be established, operated by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. In particular, it will be replenished through defense enterprises’ dividends and profits from confiscated Russian assets’ sales. The funds will be distributed in three areas: the welfare of soldiers, military infrastructure, and the development of new technologies.

Another important outcome of the forum was the creation of the Defense Industries Alliance, which 38 companies from 19 countries joined.

“This forum is only the first one of its kind (…) Our country will become one of the world’s key producers of weapons and defense systems. And this is no longer just an ambition or a prospect, it is a potential that is already being realized. I am grateful to everyone whose work leads to such results for Ukraine!” commented President Zelesnkyy about the outcomes of the DFNC1.