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Czech president says first batch of shells to arrive in Ukraine in June

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 9, 2024 3:55 PM 2 min read
Czech President Petr Pavel addresses a press conference at Prague Castle on May 2, 2023, in Prague, Czechia. (Michal Cizek/AFP via Getty Images)
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The first batch of ammunition purchased by allied countries under the Czech-led initiative is expected to arrive in Ukraine in June, Czech President Petr Pavel told German broadcaster ARD on May 8.

Czech President Petr Pavel said in February that Prague had identified 500,000 155 mm shells and 300,000 122 mm shells outside Europe that could be bought and sent to Ukraine after the necessary funds were allocated to the initiative.

Several countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Poland, France, Denmark, and Slovenia, have since contributed funds to the Czech initiative, which may result in the delivery of 1.5 million rounds to Kyiv.

The first 180,000 pieces of ammunition will be delivered in June, and "there are already contracts for a further five to six-digit number of shells," Pavel told ARD.

Pavel acknowledged that the West has been "very cautious in its support" for Ukraine, resulting in "long debates" about weapons deliveries.

"If we had skipped this period of reflection and risk assessment, Ukraine would have received this aid months, perhaps even years earlier and the situation could have been different," Pavel said.

Pavel launched the initiative against the backdrop of Ukraine losing the key front-line city of Avdiivka in February amid a severe ammunition shortage.

Russia has since intensified aerial attacks on Ukrainian cities and gained a foothold along Ukraine's eastern front line.

"We should learn from the past and provide assistance now to the fullest extent and as quickly as possible to prevent Ukraine from losing more territory and lives," Pavel said.

Slovak citizens raise funds to buy over 2,500 shells for Ukraine
A Slovak fundraising campaign for the Czech ammunition initiative has raised enough money to buy 2,692 shells for Ukraine, the Czech News Agency reported on May 8.
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