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Why Ukraine Needs Russia -- And Russia Needs Ukraine

A Ukrainian soldier stands guard at a check point in eastern Ukraine, April 27, 2014. Marko Djurica / Courtesy Reuters

The upheaval in eastern and southern Ukraine comes with a hidden cost for one of the region’s little-known success stories: the close ties between the Russian and Ukrainian defense industrial bases. In late March, Yuri Tereshenko, the head of Ukraine’s state-controlled defense-industrial conglomerate Ukroboronprom declared that Kiev planned to curtail its military and technical cooperation with Russia in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. A month later, Russian President Vladimir Putin shot back. At a May meeting with defense industrial managers and top military commanders, he said, “We need to do our utmost for anything used in our defense sector to be produced on our territory, so that we are not dependent on anyone.” It is hard to overstate how disruptive it could be if Tereshenko and Putin get their way: decades of cooperation in a vast industry originally developed will come to an end.


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