PARIS — As leaders from France, Germany and Italy visited Kiev this week, greater than a dozen businessmen had been stopped, even perhaps transfixed, in entrance of a sales space for the Ukrainian Ministry of Protection at a protection trade commerce present close to Paris.
There, a video displaying the navy weapons Ukraine is counting on to defend itself in opposition to a Russian invasion ran on a loop. For the primary 4 days of the Eurosatory convention right here, small crowds, the sort normally reserved for fashionable commerce present points of interest similar to robotic canines or sturdy espresso espresso, gathered outdoors and watched, principally silent and expressionless.
The montage of conflict footage is purportedly of Russia’s invasion this 12 months and Ukraine’s efforts to battle again. In a single scene, what seems to be Russian vehicles are noticed from overhead, camouflaged within the woods. Within the subsequent scene, an explosion. After which smoke billows from the forest.
In one other, what’s presumably a Russian aircraft is hit from a Strila-10 anti-aircraft system, then descends towards the bottom and explodes right into a fireball. Increase. A second later, a minimize to the burnt scrap and wreckage. No our bodies are proven.
In between scenes, the enormous display, not less than 10 ft tall and simply as huge, fills with smoke after which fades to black earlier than introducing the subsequent weapons system. Increase. BTR-3. Increase. S-300. Increase. BUK-MI.
Typically, promotional movies at commerce reveals like this one observe a blueprint. They depict automobiles rolling by way of inexperienced pastures or insanely rocky terrain. They characteristic dramatic rock music with crescendos and driving bass line. They embody digital graphics that designate in gradual movement how every a part of a weapon works. And when the techniques fireplace, the viewer by no means sees the place the artillery lands.
Not often do they characteristic weapons like those on show within the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre this week really blowing up one other nation’s deployed automobiles.
Then once more, hardly ever are the international locations who’re exhibiting defending themselves in conflict.
Ukrainian officers didn’t reply to a request for an interview to debate their sales space on the commerce present, nor did leaders from Spetstechnoexport, the state-owned firm chargeable for the sales space and the nation’s navy imports.
Representatives from Coges, the organizers of the biennial Eurosatory convention, famous in an electronic mail that Ukraine confirmed its participation within the present earlier than Russia’s invasion in late February.
On one facet of the sales space, the ministry displayed photographs of burned-out armored automobiles and Russian tanks with out tracks. Every bit of glass was shattered, each floor of the automobile charred.
The sales space’s location additionally made it laborious to disregard.
To the left, the ministry’s neighbor was Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest protection contractor, with panels promoting Javelin, its anti-tank missile that’s been used for greater than 25 years and confirmed particularly fashionable for Ukraine.
To the precise was Norinco, or the China North Industries Company, the state-run producer and one other of the world’s largest contractors.
The ministry left a 24-page ebook of shiny pictures for passersby with photographs of the FH-70 Howitzer, the MiG-29 fighter, the Bayraktar TB2 drone, the Stinger and, after all, the Javelin. The duvet learn “Armed Forces of Ukraine. Collectively to win!”
The most recent White Home bundle to assist Ukraine contains extra ammunition for high-tech, medium-range rocket launchers, rockets for the M142 Excessive Mobility Artillery Rocket Programs, M777 howitzers, 155mm ammunition and safe radios.
Increase. The video stuffed with smoke. The following crowd shuffled by, then stopped to observe.
Mike Gruss is the editor in chief of Sightline Media Group.