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Bloomberg: Germany allocates $325 million to Czech-led initiative for Ukraine

by Kateryna Hodunova March 22, 2024 12:25 PM 2 min read
A Ukrainian soldier prepares 155mm artillery shells in his fighting position as Ukrainian Army conduct operation to target trenches of Russian forces through the Donetsk Oblast amid Russia-Ukraine war, on Aug. 6, 2023. (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Berlin has pledged 300 million euros ($325 million) to a Czech-led initiative to provide Ukraine with hundreds of thousands of artillery shells, Bloomberg reported on March 21, citing people familiar with the decision.

Czech President Petr Pavel said in February at the Munich Conference that Prague had found 500,000 155 mm shells and 300,000 122 mm shells outside Europe that could be sent to Ukraine within weeks if the necessary funds were allocated to the initiative.

Artillery shells are a crucial capability for Ukraine as the country faces critical ammunition shortages. Delays in U.S. military assistance, caused by disputes in Congress, have already had a direct impact on the battlefield, contributing to the loss of the key front-line city of Avdiivka.

AFP reported on March 6 that Germany would pledge a "three-digit million euro sum" to the Czech initiative, citing Chancellor Olaf Scholz's spokesperson, Steffen Hebestreit.

Three hundred million euros ($325 million) will be enough to cover around 180,000 shells, Bloomberg said, citing people who declined to be named. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius also said that Berlin would cover the purchase of 180,000 shells earlier this week.

Several other states, including France, the Netherlands, Canada, Lithuania,  and Belgium, agreed to join the initiative.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal expressed hopes to get enough ammunition by April, also thanks to assistance from allies. Czech officials named July as the earliest date of first deliveries.

Since the beginning of 2024, Russia has fired seven times more shells than Ukraine, according to Lieutenant General Ivan Havryliuk, Ukraine's deputy defense minister.

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