Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov on Tuesday openly offered Ukraine as a venue to test NATO weapons against Russia in an online conversation with the director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.
Reznikov said that Ukraine “is essentially a testing ground” for the advanced weaponry the US and its allies are pouring into the country. “Many weapons are now getting tested in the field in the real conditions of the battle against the Russian Army, which has plenty of modern systems of its own,” he said.
The Ukrainian military chief made the offer in a fresh pitch for more Western arms. “We are interested in testing modern systems in the fight against the enemy and we are inviting arms manufacturers to test the new products here,” he said.
One weapons system that is getting its first use on the battlefield in Ukraine is the Polish Krab artillery system that was provided by Warsaw. “So, I think for our partners in Poland, in the United States, France, or Germany, it’s a good chance to test the equipment. So, give us the tools. We will finish the job and you will have all the new information,” Reznikov said.
The Western response to the war in Ukraine has been a boon for US arms makers, who are making money sending weapons into the war zone, replenishing NATO stockpiles, and selling arms to European countries that have decided to boost military spending.
Kyiv has been asking for more advanced arms than it has been sending, including F-15 and F-16 fighter jets. Ukrainian pilots would need to be trained to fly the US aircraft, and the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act includes $100 million to go towards that training, although the massive spending bill has not yet been finalized.