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    Lord of War, Slovakian Edition: Weapons Firm Clinches Arms Deal With Ukraine

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    Slovak pistol manufacturer Grand Power Ltd has signed a contract with Ukraine's state-owned weapons firm Ukroboronprom for the production of pistols in the war-torn country. Jan Skalicky, chairman of the Association of Manufacturers and Sellers of Firearms, says it's probably not a good idea to supply more guns to a country facing a civil war.

    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.

    Last year, the Ukrainian umbrella group of weapons producers announced its intention to switch to NATO standards in defense production by 2018.

    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…"

    In any event, the expert suggested that while Grand Power Ltd., which has been on the market for over a decade, has talented designers and makes quality weapons, it is still no match for the legendary Czech Arms Factory, which has been around since the 1930s, and manufactured vast quantities of arms during WWII, the Cold War and into the present.

    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.

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    Tags:
    pistols, machine guns, expert commentary, manufacturer, arms deal, weapons, Grand Power Ltd, Ukroboronprom, Ukraine, Slovakia
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