Soviet-era Ukrainian tank plants come under Rheinmetall ‘control’

Regarded as a significant force within the defense industry, the German conglomerate Rheinmetall, under the stewardship of its CEO Armin Papperger, has consistently demonstrated a robust alliance with the Ukrainian government. Papperger’s assertive statements have unequivocally conveyed that Rheinmetall is poised to broaden its sphere of influence by strategically situating the company’s manufacturing facilities within Ukrainian territories.

Soviet-era Ukrainian tank plants come under Rheinmetall 'control'
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In the face of continuing threats from the east, Mr. Pepperger’s comments carry a significant weight. Dmitry Medvedev, the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, has unequivocally stated that missile attacks would be directed towards the Rheinmetall plants located in Ukraine.

Armin Paperger, in his official statement, indicated the potential commencement of services for Ukrainian tanks in the imminent future. Speculations suggest that the renovation endeavors could initiate as early as August. Furthermore, an existing cohort of over ten Ukrainian nationals is currently undergoing intensive training in Germany, specifically tailored to equip them with the necessary skills to operate within the company’s manufacturing units. An additional group of twelve individuals is expected to bolster this workforce in the near future.

The swift materialization of results

The chief executive officer of the conglomerate has expressed a resolute intent to expedite the commencement of German tank production in Ukraine. The firm’s strategy encompasses the leasing of erstwhile Soviet factories from Ukrainian defense industry corporations, with the objective of modifying these facilities in accordance with NATO stipulations.

It is of significance to underscore that the principal manufacturing facility, slated for establishment in the western regions of Ukraine, is apportioned between the national conglomerate, Ukroboroprom, and the German entity, Rheinmetall. The distribution of shares is split in a ratio of 51% to 49%, with the preponderance leaning towards the German corporation.

Russian attacks target a new objective

Consistently, since the onset of the conflict with Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has asserted that the primary target of the Russian military has become the influx of Western armaments to Kyiv. Upon a meticulous examination of the facts, it becomes evident that the maneuvers of the Russian military indeed corroborate his assertions. Consequently, these declarations transcend the realm of customary Russian propaganda.

It merits our attention that a Russian air raid over Kyiv reportedly inflicted damage on at least one Patriot battery. Speculation persists regarding a second battery also having suffered damage, yet the veracity of such assertions remains elusive, given the prevailing circumstances.

In the instance of the aerial bombardment that occurred on the 14th and 15th of May, the western vicinity of the Ukrainian city, Khmelnytskyi, was the focal point. Speculations abound that this location served as a repository for the formidable Storm Shadow missiles.

The veracity of these claims remains shrouded in mystery, a fact we must reconcile with. However, subsequent satellite imagery from Planet Labs, captured a few days post the incident, provide undeniable evidence of the Russian military’s ruthless obliteration of the area.

Attacks in June

In the latter part of June, satellite images disseminated by NASA bore witness to the severe blows dealt to the Ukrainian 40th Tactical Aviation Brigade’s base of MiG-29 fighter planes by Russian missile forces. The visuals from space unveiled a stark reality of military conflict, as the strategic base bore the brunt of the strike. 

As the month of June reached its twilight, the violent tentacles of conflict stretched further, with Russian missiles laying waste to a restaurant in Kramatorsk, Ukraine. The aftermath was captured in photographic and video evidence from the impact site, vividly depicting not only the grievous loss of civilian life but also casualties among mercenaries hailing from a range of Western nations.

There is a high probability that the Rheinmetall plant, a German enterprise located in Western Ukraine, will soon find itself in the crosshairs of Russian missiles and warplanes. This potential development signifies a new chapter in the ongoing geopolitical tensions in the region.

What makes Western Ukraine significant?

Western Ukraine is currently the most peaceful region in the country, which might surprise some. “Why would anyone want to set up businesses in Ukraine during a war?” “Wouldn’t Russia just fight back?” they might ask. Yes, Ukraine is in conflict, but choosing this location goes beyond business reasons. It’s a military strategy to strengthen Ukraine’s spot in this political power play.

The strategic positioning of this facility, in close proximity to the ‘triangle’ of Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary, is likely to inhibit customary air assaults from Russia. It is a shared understanding amongst Ukraine, Germany, and their allies that, should Moscow harbor intentions to obliterate this establishment, an unprecedented level of precision would be demanded from the Russian military. This degree of precision, it must be noted, has been conspicuously absent in the one and a half years of conflict that Ukraine has thus far endured.

Explosion in Poland, missile attack - unofficial, a fighter has taken off
Photo credit: Twitter

Article 5

In the event of a missile, launched by Russia, deviating from its intended course and striking within the borders of any one of the three European nations, it could potentially trigger Article 5 of the NATO agreement. This particular provision would officially place NATO in a state of war with Russia, thereby escalating the existing tensions and conflict. This is a scenario that Kyiv, in its strategic maneuvers against Russia, is seemingly aiming to leverage to its advantage.

The question arises, “Why ‘can or cannot activate’?” The answer lies in the fact that the power to invoke Article 5 does not rest with NATO itself, but rather with the individual NATO member state. Such a state may elect not to trigger Article 5, an occurrence which transpired in the previous year when a missile descended upon Polish soil. In that instance, Warsaw interpreted the event as a mishap, rather than a deliberate assault.


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