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Latvia to allocate additional $11 million for Czech-led initiative to buy artillery shells for Ukraine

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 15, 2024 12:08 AM 2 min read
Shells are stored at the workshop of the "Forges de Tarbes," which produces 155mm shells, the munition for French Caesar artillery, in Tarbes, southwestern France, on April 4, 2023. (Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images)
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The Latvian government will allocate an additional 10 million euros (around $11 million) for a Czech-led initiative to buy artillery shells for Ukraine, the Delfi media outlet reported on May 14, citing Latvian officials.

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.

Multiple 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 batch of ammunition purchased under the initiative is expected to arrive in Ukraine in June, Pavel said on May 9.

After the closed governmental meeting, Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silinia and Latvian Defense Minister Andris Spruds confirmed the allocation of additional financial aid for shells purchasing within the Czech-led initiative, Delfi reported.

Spruds said Latvian funds would allow the allies to buy over 3,000 rounds of 155 mm shells.

The defense minister also reminded of Latvia's efforts in a framework of the drone coalition, which was established in cooperation with the U.K. in January to bolster Ukraine's arsenal of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Latvia has supplied Ukraine with nearly 100 UAVs and plans to ship around 1,000 attack drones of various capacities in June, according to Spruds.

The minister added that the coalition has already collected over 500 million euros ($535 million) to purchase drones for Ukraine.

In 2024 and 2025, Latvia will also provide military support to Ukraine worth 0.25% of its GDP. This year, Kyiv will receive 112 million euros (around $121 million), the minister said.

Latvia to provide Ukraine with domestically-produced drones and radar systems
Latvia has been one of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters since the outbreak of the full-scale war and annually allocates 0.25% of its GDP to provide military aid to Ukraine. Silina said earlier in April that Riga’s military aid for Kyiv amounted to 392 million euros ($419 million) since February 2022.
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