German defense concern Rheinmetall plans to start maintenance of tanks in Ukraine in the coming days.
In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, the CEO of the concern, Armin Papperger, said this, DW reports.
"We will start servicing this month,", — he said.
According to him, the first twelve employees from Ukraine have already started training in Germany, and 12 more will join them.
It is noted that Germany supplies Ukraine with Leopard tanks, and since the wear and tear of tanks in combat is high, regular maintenance is important, so Rheinmetall is opening a corresponding maintenance center in Ukraine for this purpose.
Papperger also confirmed the intention to start production as soon as possible. tanks in Ukraine.
"This can be done quickly, there (in Ukraine, — Ed.) there are enough well-equipped tank plants since Soviet times", — he noted.
Rheinmetall, he said, wants to lease them and then produce armored vehicles according to NATO standards on one or two production lines.
Ukraine must at some point become independent in the production of weapons, the head of the German concern emphasized.
"It cannot be that the West pays all the bills forever, President Zelensky also sees it this way", — convinced Papperger.
In May, “Ukroboronprom” created a joint venture with the German manufacturer of military equipment and weapons Rheinmetall. It will deal with maintenance and repair of tanks, and in the future — and their production.
On July 10, Papperger said that the concern will open a plant for the production of armored vehicles in Ukraine within the next 12 weeks. They plan to build and repair tanks there, as well as train Ukrainians to service armored vehicles.
According to him, the new factory will build and repair Rheinmetall Fuchs armored personnel carriers under license. The plant will be located in western Ukraine.
Papperger also promised that the plant will be protected from Russian attacks.
Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Zakharova, who said that the Rheinmetall plant for the production of armored vehicles in Ukraine, if built, "will be a legitimate purpose" for the Russian occupiers.
Rheinmetall responded to Russia's threats that the concern's future plant in Ukraine “will be a legitimate target”. There they promised to protect the object with air defense systems of their own production.