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Ukraine to make 1 million drones, more artillery for army: Zelensky

20.12.2023 07:30
Ukraine will make 1 million unmanned aerial vehicles and step up production of artillery next year, to strengthen its war effort against Russia's invasion, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said.
Ukraines President Volodymyr Zelensky meets reporters in Kyiv on December 19, 2023.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky meets reporters in Kyiv on December 19, 2023.PAP/EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

Zelensky made the declaration at his end-of-year press conference in Kyiv on Tuesday night.

The president said: "We will produce one million drones next year."

He added that the production of artillery and shells "will also increase" in 2024 to bolster Ukraine's defence against Russian aggression. 

Zelensky also declared that several new Patriot air defence systems "will be in Ukraine to protect our country in winter" as Russia ramps up attacks on Ukraine's cities and infrastructure. 

Ukraine's president told reporters he was confident the United States would provide his country with the USD 61 billion military aid package that has stalled in Congress, and that the European Union would release fresh financial aid "in the near future." 

Russia 'ready for talks' on Ukraine?

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has said that his country would be prepared to talk to Ukraine, the United States and Europe "about the future of Ukraine," while defending its national interests, the Reuters news agency reported.  

Putin told a meeting of defence chiefs in Moscow on Tuesday: "In Ukraine, those who are aggressive towards Russia, and in Europe and in the United States - do they want to negotiate? Let them. But we will do it based on our national interests."

Putin said that "We will not give up what is ours," adding it was not Russia's intention to fight with Europe, according to Reuters.

Russia currently controls some 17.5% of the land that was internationally recognised as part of Ukraine when Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, according to news outlets.

Wednesday is day 665 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.


Source: president.gov.ua, Meduza, The Kyiv Independent, Reuters