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Media: Estonia considers joining Czech-led initiative to buy artillery shells for Ukraine

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 3, 2024 12:08 AM 2 min read
Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna at a press conference on Aug. 22, 2023. (Tobias Schwarz / AFP via Getty Images)
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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.

The statement was reportedly made at a joint press conference of Tsahkna and his Czech counterpart Jan Lipavsky after their meeting on April 2.

Ukraine is coming under increasing pressure as its munitions stocks run low, and a foreign U.S. aid bill has been blocked in Congress due to political fighting. The bill would allocate $60 billion for Ukraine and has remained stalled for months, despite pressure from the White House and other members of Congress.

Tsahkna said that Estonia supports the initiative and is currently working on "concrete proposals," as quoted by Ceske Noviny.

Lipavsky welcomed Estonia's interest in joining the initiative. "I think we clearly agree that the adequate defense of Ukraine is the defense of all of us," Lipavsky said.

Czech President Petr Pavel said in February that Czechia 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.

On March 28, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that the initiative had concluded contracts for 1 million artillery shells for Ukraine, with shipments expected already in April.

Estonia is one of the leading military donors to Ukraine in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Over the next four years, Tallinn plans to allocate 0.25% of its GDP to military assistance for Kyiv.

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