The weapons industry’s expansion in Eastern Europe 

Repair of heavy military equipment at a plant in Kyiv, Ukraine. August 2015 (Shutterstock)

By Paul Mitsopoulos 

The arms industries have been booming in Eastern Europe as countries have sought to provide Ukraine with military aid. However, the plans do not cease there. Countries like Poland and the Czech Republic are allocating money toward the long-term production of military weapons and the establishment of new factories farther from the border of Belarus for security purposes.  
The number of weapons being produced by Eastern European countries has not been seen at this level since the Cold War under the USSR. These countries perceive this to be a matter of regional stability and believe the answer to resisting Russian aggression is through a more powerful and better funded defense arsenal. In Ukraine this has already proven to be effective, and the old Warsaw Pact countries are now looking toward the future and the investments that are necessary to continue to strengthen that security. One of Poland’s major weapons producing companies is going to invest more than double its pre-war expectations, a total of 1.8 billion dollars. This is astounding growth that has been ordered by the State-owned company under Sebastian Chwalek. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has served as a reminder to Eastern Europe of its time under the Soviet Union. Now preparations are being made to ensure that they will possess the fire power to prevent losing their autonomy to Russia. When faced with the question of Russia’s possible aspirations to annex Poland if they are successful in Ukraine, Poland’s Prime Mister, Mateusz Morawiecki, replied: “This is why not only Poland but also many other countries, in particular of eastern flank of NATO and eastern flank of the European Union, are very active in helping Ukraine to survive and to preserve their, maintain their independence and territorial integrity.”  
It is evident that the eastern flank is keenly aware of the consequences of losing Ukraine and the regional insecurities that would follow. Saving Ukraine is merely the first step to a much greater process. Multiple countries have already increased their defense budgets: Poland by 2.10%, Estonia by 2.28%, Romania by 2.02%, Latvia by 2.27%, and Lithuania by 2.03%. This serves as an awakening for many countries that have realized the unpredictability of their neighbors. Much of this growing budget will be helpful in producing a united stance amongst these countries with them knowing that they cannot defend each other if they cannot defend themselves.  
The number of nations pursuing to join NATO has also increased, with interest expressed from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Georgia, Sweden, and Ukraine. With all these new developments that have been brought upon by the Russo-Ukrainian war one question remains, what happens once this war is over? Pondering what is next is a complicated task in such a variable situation. Will Eastern Europe continue this trend of growing defense budgets and increased weapon production? What other fortifications will be necessary for these states to ensure their safety? One thing is certain, Ukraine is integral to weakening the grasp that Russia has.  
A shameful defeat caused by the global support presented to Ukraine would be a demonstration of the results that these alliances and sanctions yield. Countries must not hesitate to continue aiding Ukraine and this boom in weapons production is a reassuring sign that Eastern Europe is aware of what it can lose and the things it can accomplish. Perhaps this increase in weapons is an ironic step toward making war a thing of the past. 

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