March 21
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Efforts are underway in the United States and allied countries to identify, develop and exploit Ukraine's vast resources in the form of a key metal crucial to developing the West's most advanced military technologies that will form the basis of a future deterrent against Russia and China, Newsweek reported.

Titanium is a lightweight but strong metal widely used in modern military devices such as fighter jets, helicopters, naval vessels, tanks, long-range missiles and many others.

If Ukraine wins, the U.S. and its allies will be in a good position to create a new channel for titanium production. But if Russia succeeds in capturing the country's deposits and factories, Moscow will increase its global influence over increasingly strategic resources.

The U.S. Department of the Interior has classified titanium as one of 35 minerals vital to U.S. economic and national security. But the U.S. still imports more than 90 percent of titanium, and often not from friendly countries.

Ukraine is one of seven countries that produce titanium sponge, the basis of titanium metal. China and Russia, America's most prominent strategic rivals, are among this select group.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, China produced more than 231,000 tons of titanium sponge last year, 57 percent of global production. Japan followed with 17 percent and Russia with 13 percent. Kazakhstan produced almost 18,000 tons and Ukraine more than 4,000 tons.

Because of the West's dependence on Russian titanium, the metal has not yet been sanctioned.

Aerospace giant Boeing maintains its joint venture with Russia's VSMPO-Avisma, the world's largest titanium exporter, although it has frozen orders since the invasion. Others, such as the European commercial aircraft corporation Airbus, continue to buy titanium from VSMPO.

A source familiar with the U.S. defense industry told Newsweek that titanium represents a key vulnerability.

National security experts and supporters of Ukraine are increasingly urging politicians to look east. Last year's annual defense spending bill directed the State Department to study the possibility of titanium sources from Ukraine as a potential alternative to Chinese and Russian sources.

Ukraine has really significant reserves of rare earth minerals, and if we play our cards right, it could be a really attractive alternative to Russian and Chinese sources, on which there is a lot of dependence at present, said a congressional staffer.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Russia has relatively low levels of titanium mineral reserves, and in 2021 Ukraine was actually the main source of titanium imports.

Much of the fighting has unfolded in eastern and southern Ukraine, where there are trillions of dollars worth of mineral deposits. In the first months of the invasion, Russian troops seized at least two titanium ore deposits...

Gaining access to Ukrainian titanium would help the U.S. in its simmering conflict with China, which politicians expect will dominate the 21st century.

A source familiar with the defense industry told Newsweek that titanium is needed to build weapons to help contain Beijing.

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