The US will provide Ukraine with a modern system for the monitoring of their borders. Representatives of the US Congress and the manufacturing company have said that the first samples are just awaiting customs clearance in Ukraine. The Ukroboronprom state company, who is a partner in this project, has said that they are willing to establish a joint production with the US of similar equipment in Ukraine. Supporters of military assistance to Ukraine in Congress have not excluded cooperation with Ukraine with regard to weapons manufacturing, which may even include short-range cruise missiles. However, some Ukrainian experts believe that the current level of Ukrainian-American cooperation is not enough due to obstacles and lack of trust on both sides. They expect that the situation will only improve after the US presidential elections.
The new American system for border control will automatically allow the user to see any movement of people, vehicles or ships in the border zone. One of the initiators of the project, MP Loretta Sanchez, has said that this will minimize the human factor.
According to Sanchez, Washington appreciates the ability of Ukrainian specialists to quickly adapt to American technology and to develop their own on its basis. This is why the US will focus on improving training, and on transferring experience and technology to Ukrainians.
“In Congress, there are a lot of people who are constantly working and watching the development of Ukraine to ensure the strengthening of the country, and to make sure that the aggressive behavior of Russian President Vladimir Putin against neighbors won’t remain unpunished," Sanchez concluded.
The CEO of Ukroboronprom, Roman Romanov, has said that with the use of such equipment, the Ukrainian Border Guard Service will be able to better control the borders and also form more concentrated border guard units to control the border line. He also said that the foundation for the use of these systems has been made already in order for the deployment of this equipment to be executed “as quickly as possible”. A representative has added that the new system will first start operating at the sea border.
Romanov stressed that the cooperation of the US in this project included not only the supply of ready-made systems, but also their assembly in Ukraine based on American technology. The production component will be provided by Ukroboronprom in Khmelnytsky in Ternopil, as well as in Kiev.
Igor Pasternak, the founder of AEROS in the US which produces the border control system, recognized that it's the first time this type of technology was shared with another country.
We have never before shared this technology. However, we saw in Ukraine not just potential, but also a partner. I have worked in many countries with better organized systems and during peacetime. However, in Ukraine we have seen a really unique level of professionalism,” Pasternak said.
The equipment that the US is sharing with Ukraine is needed to increase its defense potential. However, the scope is not sufficient given the threats that Ukraine is currently facing. This was said to Radio Liberty by Vladimir Zablocki, a naval expert from the consulting firm of Defense Express.
“Ukraine really needs this equipment. However, do not forget that the system will be on the border and it is unknown when it will receive customs clearance. The representatives of the US Congress and of the US companies offer the joint production of military equipment, but for now, Ukraine does not have the legislation for it. The sponsors have made a corresponding appeal to Parliament in December, but it has not even been considered by the relevant committee yet. This means that it is too early to discuss the co-production of defense products with the US, even if it is only an assembly of the American components," Zablocki explained.
According to him, the US government can give Ukraine more military technology and defensive weapons but does not do so “because of the lack of political will”. Experts believe that the situation might change after the US presidential elections.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez told Radio Liberty that the US is ready for various forms of military-technical cooperation with Ukraine. She also mentioned the fact that Ukraine may resume production of short-range cruise missiles. In addition, she did not rule out the possibility of an exchange of technology in this area.
“We observe the way North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states and European countries enhance their capabilities. I would add Ukraine to this list of countries as well. We think that Ukraine has great potential in the production of short-range missiles for the needs of a large part of European states. I see an opportunity for Ukraine to cooperate with the US and to make certain elements of weapons in this sphere,” Sanchez concluded.
In recent months, military-technical cooperation between Ukraine and other NATO members has intensified, which is why Ukrainian armored vehicles are currently equipped with engines produced in Germany. In addition, Ukraine and Lithuania are looking at ways to cooperate in the production of arms and military equipment. This was reported to Radio Liberty by the Lithuanian Defense Minister, Juozas Olekas.
“We are seeking opportunities to exchange technology. We have some military products and we know that Ukraine is reviving its military industry. The first contact between our business representatives and experts has already begun. Their development will depend on the standards of production and prices for specific military equipment," Olekas said.
He also said that it’s important for Lithuania that the elements of weapons, now that there is a possibility of joint production, are compatible with NATO weapons and meet their standards.