Volodymyr Zelenskyy to headline major US defense industry conference, where he’ll reportedly ask for more weapons for Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address the most important U.S. defense contractors at a significant military conference in the United States later this month. Zelenskyy will be a keynote speaker at the military conference in Austin, Texas.

Zelenskyy and H.E. Oleksii Reznikov – Ukraine’s Minister of Defense – will speak virtually at the National Defense Industrial Association’s annual Future Force Capabilities Conference and Exhibition on Sept. 21.

Reuters said Zelenskyy is “expected to make an appeal for more weapons for his country’s defense against Russia.”

Zelenskyy will speak during the Future Force Capabilities Conference and Exhibition as “he rallies international support for his country’s fight against the Russian invasion,” according to the press release.

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“Zelenskyy is expected to discuss Ukrainian defense needs and the critical primacy of the United States in advanced technology and hardware for the fight,” NDIA added. “His speech marks a rare moment for the Eastern European leader, as he directly addresses American military leaders and the defense industrial base.”

Zelenskyy will have an opportunity to speak directly to some of the most important American military manufacturers. NDIA’s has board members from defense industry behemoths such as Raytheon Technologies, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, and L3Harris Technologies.

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin jointly produce Javelin antitank weapons that have been used by Ukraine against invading Russian forces.

The Hon. David L. Norquist – NDIA’s president and CEO – said of Zelenskyy, “NDIA commends the inspiring and courageous stand that President Zelenskyy, H.E. Roznikov, and all of Ukraine have taken against Russia’s invasion. Together with the administration, Congress, allies, and partners, we will continue to support Ukrainians in their efforts to secure lasting freedom.”

The conference will be hosted by the Armaments, Robotics, Munitions Technology Divisions, and the Global Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community.

NDIA said of the military conference, “This event will convene a variety of attendees to foster creative interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration. Accordingly, it marks an unparalleled opportunity to maximize your expertise and interests across multiple focus areas by hearing from a team of top leaders in government, industry, and academia amid capabilities briefings, keynote remarks, panels, technical paper presentations, exhibits, and a live-fire demonstration.”

On the organization’s website, the National Defense Industrial Association said it “drives strategic dialogue in national security by identifying key issues and leveraging the knowledge and experience of its military, government, industry, and academic members to address them.”

“For more than 100 years, NDIA has provided a platform through which leaders in government, industry, and academia can collaborate and provide solutions to advance the national security and defense needs of the nation,” the NDIA website stated.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the U.S. was sending $2.8 billion more in aid for Ukraine and other European countries threatened by Russia.

Also on Thursday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the U.S. was sending $675 million in heavy weaponry, ammunition, armored vehicles, and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems to Ukraine.

The U.S. government has approved over $53 billion in security, economic, and humanitarian assistance to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this year, according to The Hill.

Reuters reported on Saturday, “Ukraine is negotiating for a $1.5 billion loan tranche from the U.S. Export-Import Bank to purchase natural gas, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote on Telegram on Saturday in a summary of a call with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.”

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