Ukrainian lawmakers back tax breaks for domestic drone producers

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s parliament voted on Monday to exempt domestic drone producers from customs duties and value-added tax, a senior lawmaker said, in a bid to help a sector Kyiv sees as vital for his war effort.

Exemptions in two bills backed by lawmakers cover imports of equipment and other parts for the production and repair of drones, lawmaker Yaroslav Zheleznyak wrote on the Telegram messenger.

The bills still need to be approved by President Volodymyr Zelensky before coming into force.

Ukraine sees drones as a low-cost way to close its huge weapons gap with Russia, a nuclear power whose long-range conventional capabilities allow it to carry out airstrikes on targets across Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said it was working with more than 80 drone manufacturers.

In previous conversations with Reuters, Ukrainian drone makers and non-governmental organizations cited customs regulations as a big challenge to increasing production volumes.

The Verkhovna Rada, or parliament, continued to meet in kyiv during the full-scale invasion of Russia, but its sessions are now closed to the public.

(Reporting by Olena Harmash and Max Hunder; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by)

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