Ukraine’s Zelensky Says He Is Working on Joint Weapons Production with Argentina

Javier Milei, Argentina's president, center right, greets Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine's p
Erica Canepa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday he is working to establish a joint weapons production project alongside Argentina and its president, Javier Milei.

Zelensky made the announcement in remarks during a press conference in Kyiv with Latin American journalists, where he stated that he is working with Milei to develop joint manufacturing of arms parts, drones, and gunpowder.

“And it has to be fast and a broad technological collaboration. We have no other choice and Argentina could be an important partner in this regard,” Zelensky said.

During the press conference, one of the participating journalists reportedly asked what a country like Argentina, “which has no weapons to deliver and is in a serious economic crisis, [could] do for Ukraine.”

“Friendship begins with the economy. Of course it does. Ukraine can potentially have an important economic exchange with your country,” Zelensky answered. “Argentina may not be able to give us weapons because there is no extended military industry and thank God because I hope it will never go to war.”

“But when we are talking about the security of Ukraine, we are also talking about the security of your country and your continent, as far as the development of the military industry for defense is concerned,” he continued. “We want to develop that area, not so that there will be war, but so that there will be no war.“

The Ukrainian president explained that officials from both countries have talked about the prospect of developing drones, electronic defense systems, and other types of security collaboration, including the manufacturing of gunpowder, which Zelensky said his country was lacking.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends the 3rd Crimea Platform summit in Kyiv, Ukraine on August 23, 2023 (Ercin Erturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty).

“For many years we were not very open to our Argentine colleagues. Now we are willing to do that kind of production both in Ukraine and in Argentina,” Zelensky said. “We are ready to collaborate, to co-produce and to share the technologies that Ukraine has already received during this war.”

Argentina, which had ideologically aligned with Russia, China, Iran, and other rogue regimes throughout nearly two decades of socialist rule, has seen a dramatic shift of its foreign policy under Milei. Since his inauguration in December, Argentina has realigned to become one of the few countries in the region actively supporting Ukraine amidst Russia’s ongoing invasion of its territory. The support from Milei stands in a stark contrast to the leftist authoritarian regimes in the region that have unapologetically supported Moscow in the conflict.

Milei and Zelensky held a roughly 20-minute telephone conversation shortly after Milei’s November 2023 electoral victory, where they reportedly agreed to organize an Argentine-hosted peace summit between Latin American countries and Ukraine sometime during 2024. Zelensky, who was among the international heads of state that attended Milei’s December 10 presidential inauguration, also invited Milei to visit Ukraine.

Last week, Milei reportedly confirmed that he will participate in the upcoming Ukraine Peace Summit hosted in the city of Bürgenstock by the Swiss government on June 15 and 16. Reports published in March indicated that Milei was planning to take a solidarity trip to Ukraine sometime during late June as part of a broader European tour.

FILE - Argentine President Javier Milei leaves an event in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan. 26, 2024. The organization Human Rights Watch warned, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, that the security policies adopted by Milei and his confrontation with the opposition in Congress pose a risk to democracy and human rights in Argentina. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

Argentine President Javier Milei leaves an event in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan. 26, 2024 (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File).

Another journalist reportedly asked Zelensky, “Why choose Argentina?”

“There are no big or small countries, Latin America has a powerful voice in the resolutions of the UN General Assembly, in the political decisions they listen to it because it is a very powerful part of the world,” Zelensky answered.

“And the economic crisis is something that comes and goes,” he continued. “What matters is the solidarity of the country, the influence. And influence is important for us at the moment.”

Zelensky was also asked if Ukraine supports Argentina’s territorial claim over the Falkland Islands, a South American archipelago that is part of British territory and Argentina claims as its own under the Spanish name Islas Malvinas.

“Ukraine supports the territorial integrity of all states and we have always said it,” Zelensky answered. “I would also like to emphasize that whatever the issues of the territory, we should always do everything possible, and impossible, so that the bullets, missiles do not act.”

“We must always work on the diplomatic front so that there will never be a war. We are living it,” he continued. “Whatever the conflict is, whatever the slogans are, we have to do everything possible so that there is no war. Not to feed the issue of capturing other people’s territories, never to feed this issue.”

In 1982, the Argentine dictatorship of General Leopoldo Galtieri invaded and occupied the islands before the British government under Margaret Thatcher sent an expeditionary force, triggering a 74-day war that culminated with Argentina surrendering to the United Kingdom. In 2013, more than 90 percent of the island’s population chose to remain part of British territory in a referendum.

Milei has publicly pledged to have Argentina “recover” the archipelago from the United Kingdom through diplomatic means but has stressed that it would be a “long-term process.”

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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