Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told Financial Times in an interview published Wednesday that his country serves as an ideal “testing ground” for Western weaponry.
Reznikov said that Ukraine’s Western backers can see how their weapons work in a war against Russia to see if they’re efficient or need upgrades. “For the military industry of the world, you can’t invent a better testing ground,” he said.
Reznikov made similar comments last year when asking for the US and its NATO allies to send more weapons. “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 in July 2022.
In the interview on Wednesday, Reznikov said US officials were very happy when Ukraine’s military reported that a US Patriot missile system downed a Kinzhal, a Russian hypersonic missile. Reznikov said a US official called the news “fantastic.”
Reznikov said Russia has countered some of the Western weaponry, including the HIMARS rocket systems, which fire GPS-guided munitions. He said the HIMARS were “highly accurate” when first delivered but that Russia has found ways to jam the system.
“The Russians come up with a countermeasure, we inform our partners and they make a new countermeasure against this countermeasure,” Reznikov said.
He said that many countries are watching the developments on the battlefield in Ukraine, including those that are armed with Russian weapons. “Everyone is watching closely. And not only India. China too … Everyone, even those who bought weapons from [Russia], will watch carefully,” he said.
The Ukrainian defense chief also touted maintenance contracts Ukraine has signed with Western arms companies, calling it an example of how Ukraine is a “de facto” NATO member. Reznikov has previously referred to Ukraine as a de facto member of the Western alliance and said earlier this year that his country was “shedding blood” for a “NATO mission.”