Ukraine names new head of state weapons firm to push reforms, boost domestic output

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The Ukrainian government appointed a new head of state-owned weapons producer Ukroboronprom on Wednesday as Kyiv seeks to boost domestic weapons production and increase transparency.

The appointment of Herman Smetanin, who has been serving as head of the Kharkiv Malyshev Plant in northeast Ukraine, as the new general director of Ukroboronprom is part of a broader transformation of the key industry, officials said.

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Ukraine, which has been fighting Russian forces since Moscow began its full-scale invasion in February 2022, depends heavily on Western military aid and weapons supplies.

“The newly appointed general director faces three main tasks: to increase the production of ammunition and military equipment, build an effective anti-corruption infrastructure in the company, and transform Ukroboronprom,” said Oleksander Kamyshyn, Minister for Ukraine’s Strategic Industries.

The government has been pushing for reforms in the domestic defense industry to modernize local producers, enabling them to cooperate closer with their Western partners and increase supplies to the front. Earlier this year the government
announced plans to corporatize Ukroboronprom, improving transparency and corporate governance at the company.

Despite the war, constant shelling of its military production facili-ties and the need to move some plants to safer areas, Ukraine has been able to launch the production of new artillery shells. It has also agreed joint projects with central European producers to repair Ukrainian tanks and other vehicles, and has been working to develop drone and missile production.

Kamyshyn praised Smetanin, 31, as a young and progressive leader who quickly rose from being an engineer to head a huge company producing tanks and other armored vehicles. Smetanin was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s industrial center in the east, and worked at several machine-building and tank plants.

“Together, we will be able to strengthen the defense industry, sig-nificantly increase the volume and pace of production and, as a result, make it an engine to drive the recovery of the country’s economy,” Kamyshyn said on the Telegram messaging app.

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