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Battle for shells. Ukraine and Russia are looking for weapons around the world

Battle for shells.  Ukraine and Russia are looking for weapons around the world

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Ukraine and Russia are looking for both shells around the world, which has boosted their prices and led to speculation.

Russia’s entire invasion of Ukraine has changed the global arms market. The price of some types of weapons and ammunition on the international market has increased several times and continues to increase, writes The Times newspaper, whose journalists spoke with the former head of the marketing department of Ukrspetsexport (the Ukraine’s largest arms exporter) and the head of Ukraine’s Defense Procurement Agency, Vladimir Pikuzo. First of all, the increase in prices affected Soviet-style weapons and ammunition, on which the Ukrainian army is highly dependent.

Time of corruption and speculators

The world supply of Soviet weapons is now limited, the market is dominated by middlemen and speculators, and old stocks in both Russia and Ukraine are rapidly dwindling.

So, a rocket for the Grad multiple launch rocket system cost $900 at the start of the war, and now during negotiations dealers are asking $6,000 for it (under the old agreements, Ukraine still accepts them for $4,700). For a 152-mm shell for the D-20 howitzer, the market demanded more than $5,700, although at the beginning of the war the price was $1,200. Prices for other types of ammunition have also increased.

Picuso, writes The Times, tries to negotiate directly with European arms manufacturers, but they often refuse to launch new production lines, citing high costs and lack of profitability. Because of this, weapons have to be bought through middlemen in different regions of the world.

As Picuso said, corruption is often an ally in such situations. For example, one day his team tried to buy a much-needed shipment of ammunition, its export prohibited. After receiving an official refusal, they received a call and were advised to contact a foreign intermediary company – through it, permission was obtained to supply the cargo to Ukraine.

Picuso explains the sharp increase in the price of weapons by speculation, as well as the fact that both Ukraine and Russia are looking for the same shells around the world. At the same time, he admitted that the Russian Federation has more money and a wider network of agents of influence. He also noted that many suppliers and warehouse owners are simply holding on to inventory because they know the price will double in just a few months.

Help from Western intelligence

In turn, Ukraine has the advantage of Western intelligence assistance: Western partners have established unofficial contacts with countries that officially refrain from supplying weapons. Such contacts are kept secret so that Russia does not know about it. According to The Times, although dozens of countries declared their neutrality in the war, only “five or six” major states, notably the United Arab Emirates, were not actually involved in any way in the supply of weapons – everything else makes it a gray area.

Moreover, in some cases, help from the West in finding weapons works against Ukraine. Picuso spoke about cases when merchants asked for higher prices during negotiations with him, explaining that if they refused to pay, they would sell the weapons to Great Britain, which was ready to give more money. As a result, these weapons still ended up in Ukraine via the UK, but it took more time.

To match the level of supplies that Russia has, Ukraine, according to the estimates of a British military expert interviewed by The Times, needs $300 billion. Moreover, in fact, even the availability of this money does not guarantee results due to the physical lack of weapons.

Businesses in Ukraine

A possible solution is the launch of branches of Western enterprises in Ukraine. Thus, the French industrial group Thales, which specializes in aviation defense equipment, signed three agreements with Ukraine. Two related to cooperation with Ukroboronprom, one – with FRDM. The first agreement announces Thales’ intention to establish a joint venture in Ukraine that will facilitate the supply and operation of equipment from the Group’s defense systems portfolio, including electronic warfare, as well as tactical communications equipment. , air defense systems and radars.

The second agreement concerns electronic warfare, where Thales will provide extensive maintenance, testing and specialized training. In a separate, third agreement signed with Ukrainian drone manufacturer FRDM, Thales aims to jointly develop and manufacture an unmanned aircraft system capable of carrying and launching munitions.

The other day, information came out that the American company Northrop Grumman (the third largest defense company in the world by revenue) planned to produce medium-caliber ammunition in Ukraine. And on June 7, the Franco-German conglomerate KNDS announced the creation of a business in Ukraine.

Source: korrespondent

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