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Slovak citizens raise $4 million for Czech ammunition initiative after government refuses to contribute

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 27, 2024 4:15 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. (Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images)
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Slovak activists collected 3.9 million euros ($4 million) for the Czech ammunition initiative for Ukraine in 12 days, after the Slovak government refused to participate.

Slovak citizens started their campaign "Ammunition for Ukraine" on April 16 to raise additional funds for the Czech-led initiative of purchasing more artillery ammunition for Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces are facing a critical ammunition shortage, with Russia currently firing shells at a ratio of around 10:1, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky on April 16.

Since then, several countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Poland, France, Denmark, and Slovenia, have contributed funds to the initiative, which may deliver as many as supply as 1.5 million rounds to Kyiv.

Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Blanar said in late March that Slovakia would not send any arms to Ukraine as "the conflict does not have a military solution." Blanar met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Turkey on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum earlier in March.

The organizers of the Slovak fundraising campaign said that they refused to accept that their government did not join the initiative.

"Many people in Slovakia are ashamed of the government's orientation to Russia. This is the reason people are contributing," said Zuzana Izsakova, one of the organizers.

Over 60,000 Slovaks have contributed to the initiative, according to the organizers.  

While the Czech foreign minister declined to give a timeline for the delivery of the shells, Tomas Pojar, a Czech national security adviser, said earlier that the first batches could be sent to Ukraine as early as June.

Inside the Swedish ammunition plant at the forefront of Europe’s push to ramp up shell production
KARLSKOGA, SWEDEN – In a nondescript industrial area nestled among a forest of Swedish pine, a continent-wide effort to ramp up defense production is playing out in real time. A modest, one-story building is home to a seemingly endless ceiling-mounted rail — essentially an upside-down conveyor belt…
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