MILAN — Eight months after Sweden’s announcement to send Combat Vehicles 90 to Ukraine, Stockholm has taken the partnership up a notch, looking to strengthen cooperation with Kyiv around the production and servicing of the rides.
The two countries signed a statement of intent to that effect during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Aug. 19 visit to Sweden.
“Sweden and Ukraine share the conviction that further cooperation on the platform will be mutually beneficial,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said. “This [statement of intent] symbolizes the countries’ will to strengthen cooperation in production, operation, training and servicing of the CV90.”
The cooperation agreement could signify the first step toward establishing the joint production of the infantry fighting vehicles in Ukraine, though the Swedish statement did not explicitly mention detailed plans to that end. However, the Ukrainian president was more forward in his words, stating that such an agreement was already in place.
“There is an agreement with Sweden on the production of CV90 in our country. Everything powerful that serves us now, we must localize and produce,” Zelenskyy said Aug. 20 in a statement released by his presidential office. “We will do so.”
Swedish vehicle-maker BAE Systems Hägglunds would not be the first Western manufacturer to consider setting up shop in Ukraine, as the head of Germany’s Rheinmetall, Armin Papperger, revealed earlier this year his company was in negotiations with Ukraine to build a $215 million tank plant.
Several elements of the Rheinmetall proposal at the time had left experts skeptical. Some had highlighted potential pitfalls ranging from site security to supply chain risks, including the danger associated with shipping sensitive goods to a war zone.
This threat was illustrated earlier in August, when Russia released footage showing the first captured Swedish-made CV90, which was brought back to Moscow. In the video, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu is seen closely inspecting the vehicle, while getting briefed by a stick-wielding official on some of its components.
The CV90 was also displayed among other so-called war trophies at the 2023 Russian Army forum, which kicked off Aug. 14.
Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.