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Portugal pledges $109 million to Czech-led shell initiative for Ukraine

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 15, 2024 3:24 PM 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. Caesar self-propelled howitzers are being actively used on Ukraine’s frontline. (Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images)
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Portugal joined the Czech-led initiative to provide Ukraine with hundreds of thousands of artillery shells, pledging 100 million euros ($108.9 million) to the effort, the Portugal Defense Ministry announced on March 15.

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.

Artillery shells are a crucial capability for Ukraine as the country faces critical ammunition shortages. Delays in U.S. military assistance, caused by disputes in Congress, have already had a direct impact on the battlefield, contributing to the loss of the key front-line city of Avdiivka.

"The support provided under this joint initiative complements the military assistance that the (Portugal) Defense Ministry has been providing to Ukraine since the first hour of the Russian invasion," the statement reads.

The military aid that Portugal has given to Kyiv since 2022 includes Leopard 2 tanks, dozens of M113 armored personnel carriers, and artillery ammunition.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on March 12 that the initiative has already secured the purchase of 300,000 shells and received nonbinding commitments for 200,000 more.

According to Fiala's security advisor, Tomas Pojar, the rounds could start flowing to Ukraine by June.

‘Our reserves will run out:’ Ukrainian artillery sounds alarm on Western shell shortage
Hiding beneath sparse winter cover in a crude, muddy ditch, a great steel monster lies in wait for an opportunity to attack. Adorned on either side with painted plus signs, the gun’s huge barrel looks up at the sky over the Bakhmut front line, across which thousands
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