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Czech PM confirms Ukraine received first batch of shells under Prague-led initiative

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 25, 2024 5:09 PM 2 min read
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala talks to the media at the end of the second day of an EU Summit in the Europa building, the EU Council headquarters on Oct. 21, 2022, in Brussels, Belgium. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
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Ukraine has received the first batch of artillery shells under the Czech-led initiative, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on June 25.

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 the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Portugal, Canada, and the Netherlands, have since contributed funds to the Czech initiative, which may result in the delivery of 1.5 million rounds to Kyiv, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said in late March.

More than 1.6 billion euros ($1.7 million) have been allocated for the effort, according to the prime minister.

"The first shipment of ammunition from our initiative arrived in Ukraine some time ago. We are doing what it takes," Fiala said.

Lipavsky said in mid-June that the first shells purchased under the initiative were arriving in Ukraine "these days."

Czech officials did not specify the amount of incoming ammunition.

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 launched a new offensive in Kharkiv Oblast, which has reportedly been halted by the first line of defense. Some of the Russian forces are withdrawing from the area near the embattled town of Vovchansk for replenishment due to a loss of combat capability, the Ukrainian military said on June 22.

Moscow is still outpacing the West in securing artillery supplies on international markets, the Czech government said, fearing that delayed payments to arms companies could result in millions of munitions being shipped to Moscow rather than Kyiv, the Financial Times reported in late May.

FT: Around $855 million in Serbian ammunition reaches Ukraine
Serbian-Ukrainian relationships are complicated by Belgrade’s friendly attitude toward Russia, as Serbia has refused to join sanctions against Moscow.

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