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Pavel: Czechia can deliver 800,000 shells to Ukraine if allied financing secured

by Martin Fornusek February 17, 2024 10:38 PM 2 min read
Czech President Petr Pavel (L) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meet during the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 17, 2024. (President Petr Pavel/X)
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Czechia identified around 800,000 artillery shells abroad that could be sent to Ukraine within weeks if provided funding from other partners, Czech President Petr Pavel said on Feb. 17.

Artillery shells are among the most crucial military supplies for Kyiv, as they are used daily in high numbers on the Ukrainian battlefields.

The EU conceded that it would be able to deliver only half of the promised 1 million shells by the March deadline, while defense assistance from the U.S., including artillery support, is held up by domestic political disputes.

Josep Borrell, the EU's top diplomat, recently said that the EU aims to deliver more than 1 million shells to Ukraine by the end of 2024.

"We have identified at this point half a million rounds of 155 mm caliber and another 300,000 rounds of 122 mm caliber, which we will be able to deliver within weeks if we quickly find funding for that activity," Pavel said at the Munich Security Conference.

The Czech head of state said that Prague will turn to partners from the U.S., Germany, Sweden, and others who could contribute to this endeavor.

Pavel did not specify from which countries the purchases would be sourced.

Bloomberg: Umerov says Ukraine has increasingly ‘critical’ shortage of artillery shells
Ukraine is currently unable to fire more than 2,000 shells per day, around a third of Russia’s average daily shell usage, said Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, according to Bloomberg.

As the EU countries sent all the shells they could from their standing stocks, the next step is to either produce or purchase new ones, both to ship to Ukraine and to refill their own arsenals.

Seeing the EU failing on its promise to Kyiv, Czechia has begun pushing a plan to jointly finance the purchase of 450,000 shells outside the bloc, Politico reported on Feb. 1. Prague reportedly suggested that Europe could turn to arms companies in South Korea, Turkey, or South Africa.

Plans to buy ammunition from outside the bloc continue to face opposition from France, Greece, and Cyprus. While Paris hopes to give a boost to its domestic defense industry, Greece and Cyprus do not wish to buy arms from Turkish producers, given their tense relations with Ankara.

Zelensky in Munich: ‘If Ukraine left alone, Russia will destroy us’
“Keeping Ukraine in the artificial deficits of weapons, particularly in a deficit of artillery and long-range capabilities, allows (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to adapt to the current intensity of the war,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
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