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A Ukrainian soldier prepares 155mm artillery shells in his fighting position in Donetsk Oblast on Aug. 6, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Participants of a Czech-led artillery initiative have contracted the first 180,000 out of 300,000 ammunition rounds for Ukraine, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala wrote in an op-ed for the Financial Times on April 15.

"These will be delivered to the Ukrainian front in the coming months," Fiala said.

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

Since then, a number of countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Poland, France, Denmark, and others, have contributed funds to the initiative.

Fiala described the situation in Ukraine as "critical," saying that Kyiv has to make "difficult decisions" every day due to the ammunition shortages.

"This makes it extremely hard to hold their lines – the very lines that will decide the security and future of the whole of Europe," Fiala wrote.

Fiala highlighted Denmark's and the Netherlands' contribution to the initiative, adding that other 20 countries have also pledged their help.

The Czech prime minister also said the artillery shell initiative is not "a one-off stunt."

"We are striving to create a robust ammunition supply mechanism that will directly help turn the tide on the frontline," he said.

The initiative may deliver as many as 1.5 million rounds, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said in an interview with Bloomberg published on March 26.

While the Czech foreign minister declined to give a timeline for the delivery of the shells, Tomas Pojar, a Czech national security adviser, said earlier that the first batches could be sent to Ukraine as early as June.

Media: Estonia considers joining Czech-led initiative to buy artillery shells for Ukraine
Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna said that Tallinn is considering joining the Czech-led initiative to buy critically-needed artillery shells for Ukraine, Czech media outlet Ceske Noviny reported.
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