Ukraine’s Titanium Can Armor the West – by Stephen Blank ( – September 14, 2022)


Support for Ukraine has been driven by strategic concerns and moral-political values. But long-term Western help should also be based on solid material interests.

Ukraine is blessed with many natural resources and an abundant agricultural sector, as Andrew Michta, Dean of the College of International Studies at the Marshall Center, has reminded us. Supporting it now, and throughout its postwar reconstruction, makes eminent good sense and could help drive the regeneration of Eastern European economies, while also cementing Ukraine’s integration into Europe. This is a vital US and allied interest.

Also consider Ukraine’s substantial titanium deposits, a good example of a key resource critical to the West. The metal is integral to many defense systems (aircraft parts, missiles, armor plating, and naval vessels) as well as surgical procedures. Its strength-to-weight ratio and resistance to corrosion allow the manufacture of lightweight and durable equipment which works even in extreme conditions.

Titanium ore is currently transformed into the metal we use in our everyday lives through the Kroll process, an expensive and time-consuming six-step process that results in what is called a titanium sponge. But a new Ukrainian production method could make titanium sponge obsolete, cutting US strategic competitors and adversaries out of critical national security supply chains.

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