A “massive arms factory” must be built in Poland to help Ukraine win the war, the chairman of the defence select committee has said.
Tobias Ellwood said Western governments had demonstrated a lack of strategic foresight in their plans for helping Ukraine to “survive and thrive”.
While the Conservative MP welcomed the decision to deliver Western-made main battle tanks, he told The Telegraph the model of donations to Kyiv with differeing supply chains and types of ammunition was “unsustainable”.
“It’s just not feasible in the long term,” he said. “Tanks today, yes. But we need a strategy to make sure Ukraine can defend itself.”
With Western military stocks dwindling, Mr Ellwood said the creation of an arms factory in Poland could help transform the Ukrainian armed forces into a more independent military.
The concept is modelled on a microchip factory opened by Taiwan, which fears a Chinese invasion could cut it off from the West, in the United States.
“Let’s do the same with Ukraine so they can procure their own equipment to their own specification, probably Nato standard, and have a constantly protected supply chain,” said Mr Ellwood.
Talks have already opened with Poland over hosting such a facility, and Mr Ellwood proposed that Britain should take a leading role amongst Western governments to ensure the project could be successful.
It is thought Ukraine would be able to use the factory to produce the German-made Leopard II tank under licence to further bolster stocks in the future.
The move would significantly ease pressure on Western arms companies struggling to keep up with the demand of the war in Ukraine and the need to replenish stocks among Nato’s militaries.
It comes as the Pentagon said it wanted to increase the production of artillery shells to levels not seen since the Korean War in the next two years. Before the war, the US army produced 14,400 unguided shells a month. Under new US plans, this will increase to 90,000 a month.
“In previous conflicts, we had stockpiles that were sufficient for the conflict,” Douglas Bush, the US army’s top acquisition official, told the New York Times. “In this case, we’re seeking to increase production to both maintain our stockpile for some other contingency but also supply an ally.”
Many of Ukraine’s military backers have warned that they have supported Kyiv at the cost of their own defences – a worrying prospect for Nato commanders.
Leading officials inside the military alliance have opened talks with arms manufacturers in the hope of them ramping up production, but many are unwilling to do so because there is no guarantee over future orders of weapons.
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