The deal, signed last week at a military expo in Kiev, will see the two companies work jointly on new designs, and exchanging experience and weapons technology. In the meantime, Ukraine will produce K100 semi-automatic pistols and K105 subcompact machine guns under license. According to Ukroboronprom, these weapons will likely be supplied to the country's armed forces, the National Guard and the Interior Ministry.
"Because Slovakia is a member of NATO and the EU, this will allow us to direct joint efforts at creating new, state-of-the-art firearms in line with NATO's standards, and take Ukraine's mutually beneficial cooperation and partnership with Western partners to a new level," a statement on Ukroboronprom's website said.
Asked to comment on the venture, Jan Skalicky, the chairman of the Association of Manufacturers and Sellers of Firearms and Ammunition, told Sputnik Czech Republic that while the deal was doubtlessly a financial success for the new Slovak company, it's probably not such a good idea, in light of the shaky political and military situation in Ukraine.
"It's certainly a success for the company, but at the same time there are risks," the weapons expert noted. "The situation in Ukraine is not stable, and this could lead to financial losses." Furthermore, "providing assistance in the production of weapons to a country facing a civil war (even one that's presently in a lull), is not a good thing."
Still, making an effort to defend his lobby, Skalicky noted that he doesn't think Slovakian weapons alone will have any significant impact "in increasing the number of victims in this conflict. Moreover, Ukrainian warehouses already have plenty of their own weapons, including Makarov and Tokarev TT pistols…"
Last month, US Congress approved the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine. Before that, Ukrainian officials proposed the joint production of weapons with American defense firms, a proposal that seems to have died on the vine.