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Polish FM: Transport of shells under Czech initiative 'already being organized'

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 29, 2024 6:43 PM 2 min read
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski in a photo on March 23, 2019. (Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The transport of artillery shells for Ukraine secured through the Czech-led initiative is already "being organized," Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said on March 29, according to Wnp.pl media outlet.

Czech President Petr Pavel said in February that Prague 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 to the initiative.

Czechia's foreign minister, Jan Lipavsky, said on March 25 that the initiative may collect as many as 1.5 million rounds.

"The fact that that (the initiative) has already received firm pledges of support backed by money, and that the transport is already being organized, means that we feel a burden of responsibility to help Ukraine fight the Russian invasion," Sikorski said.

It is unclear whether Sikorski meant that the deliveries themselves had begun or whether he was referring to some sort of preparatory phase. The Polish Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to the Kyiv Independent's request for comment.

Tomas Pojar, a national security advisor to the Czech prime minister, said that the shells could start flowing in June. The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that first shipments are expected as early as April.

The Polish minister said earlier this week that Warsaw would double its contribution without providing a specific figure. Sikorski again refused on March 29 to disclose the amount of funds Poland had allocated for the purchase of shells, calling it a "military secret."

Ukraine has been facing severe ammunition shortages in recent months, contributing to the loss of a key front-line city of Avdiivka in February. The EU has delivered 500,000 shells to Ukraine by March, half of the original pledged number, promising to supply the rest by the end of 2024.

The U.S. provided some artillery rounds in its recent $300 million defense package but additional aid from Washington is effectively blocked as a $60 billion aid bill remains stuck in Congress.

Media: Czech-led initiative concludes deals for 1 million shells for Ukraine
A Czech-led initiative had concluded contracts for 1 million artillery shells for Ukraine, with shipments expected already in April, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on March 28, citing undisclosed sources.
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