The Czech Republic’s weapon export industry significantly increased in 2023, almost doubling to nearly 30 billion CZK. According to Jiří Hynek, the president of the Association of Defense and Security Industry of the Czech Republic, last year’s export was the highest on record, reaching over 50 billion CZK.
The conflict in Ukraine, which began with Russia’s invasion in February 2021, played a significant role in the increase of weapon exports from the Czech Republic. Hynek explained that the conflict not only led to higher deliveries to the warzone but also created the need to prepare for possible expansion of the war to other countries.
Approximately 45% of the Czech Republic’s weapon exports went to Ukraine, 70% of that being ammunition, particularly large-caliber rounds. However, the Czech companies also supplied ground vehicles, including cars, tanks, armored vehicles, howitzers, and rocket launchers.
While the increase in weapon exports may be good news for the Czech Republic’s economy, it raises concerns about its role in fueling conflicts. The Czech government has faced criticism from human rights groups, accusing it of selling arms to regimes with poor human rights records.
The Czech Republic’s arms exporting industry has been around since the Cold War era and has been a significant contributor to the country’s economy. However, some argue it’s time for the government to shift away from the industry and focus on more sustainable economic sectors.
Despite the controversies surrounding the weapon industry, the Czech Republic continues to be one of the top arms exporters in the world. In 2020, it ranked 19th in the world, with the United States, Russia, and China being the top three.
As the conflict in Ukraine continues, the Czech Republic’s weapon export industry is likely to keep growing, raising questions about the country’s role in the global arms trade and the impact of weapon exports on international conflicts.