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Serhiy Rakhmanin: "We need gunpowder production now. We do not have any"

Ukraine's economy will not switch to a military mode in the traditional sense because the state simply does not have such capabilities, said Voice party MP Serhiy Rakhmanin, a member of the parliamentary committee on national security, defence and intelligence. The transition has been taking place gradually since 2022, he noted at the discussion panel "2024: Challenges and Prospects", held as part of the New Country joint project by and EFI Group. However, there are areas of the defence industry that require immediate prioritisation as international assistance is weakening. Below is Serhiy Rakhmanin's opinion on the adaptation of the economy to war.

"If we imagine the options for the economy to switch to a war footing similar to World War Two: three shifts (at a factory - Ed.), 24/7; an enterprise that used to produce cans for canned food starts making mines – this will not happen. The capabilities and capacities of our defence industry are somewhat overestimated in the public imagination.

Unfortunately, since 1991, when we embarked on the so-called conversion course, we have been losing production, technology, skilled personnel, experience, and traditions. And now, even if you make everyone work 10 shifts, it's like bringing together nine pregnant women, and the baby still won't be born in a month. We are severely lacking qualified personnel, critical materials, equipment, technology, and many other things," Rakhmanin said.

Photo: Max Trebukhov

In his opinion, the transition to a military-style regime began in 2022, albeit slowly. And many things require immediate structural, financial, and organisational restructuring.

"Here I agree with Mr Marchenko, 2024 will be significantly different from 2023. The priorities and requirements for industry will be somewhat different, because it is obvious that the amount of financial, military and technical assistance will be reduced. The question is how long the pauses will be and how much the quantity and quality of the products and financial amounts that will be transferred to us will decrease, but the fact that we will have to rely on ourselves more than before is absolutely obvious," the MP said.

"There are certain things that need to be done immediately. They should have been done yesterday, but they need to be done now. For example, the production of gunpowder. We have none at all, and we need it. The situation with explosives is bad: we don't have our own TNT, hexogen, nitrocellulose production and many other things. Why not? There are a million objective reasons. Is this a reason not to do it? No, it is not. That's why we will have to give up certain things, and concentrate on certain things," he added.

Photo: Max Trebukhov

In his opinion, the government, together with the military, should decide what is worth sacrificing for the sake of producing what the security sector and the Defence Forces cannot operate without, and involve various financial, organisational and technical tools.

"For example, if we need skilled personnel in some critical production for the defence system, we need to attract them. Perhaps even with the help of mobilisation tools. Does it make sense, for example, for a skilled miller or turner, mechanic, or technologist to work as a machine gunner? This is also an important function, but he will probably be of much more use to the state, its security and defence, performing his professional functions at a critical enterprise. In general, there is a lot to talk about here, but it is clear that a lot of things will need to be reworked structurally, financially and organisationally," the MP concluded.

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