Monday, November 28, 2022

Czech Republic provides Ukraine with artillery rounds

by Illia PonomarenkoJanuary 27, 2022 12:48 am
A Ukrainian navy's 152-millimeter howitzer D-20 deployed for live fire drills on Aug. 8, 2017. (Defense Ministry)

The Czech government passed a decision to provide Ukraine with scores of artillery rounds as part of the country's support amid the looming threat of Russia's invasion.

The transfer of 4,006 stored 152-millimeter shells with a total value of $1.7 million at no costs to Ukraine was approved on Jan. 26 following a request from the Czech Defense Ministry.

The Central European nation's government decided to satisfy a request for assistance in order to help Ukraine bolster its defenses against Russia's potential large offensive.

"We've been developing the cooperation with Ukraine and supporting its path to democracy since a long time ago," said Jana Cernochova, the Czech defense minister. "We have a relatively wide range of options at hand, from political and diplomatic support to specific expressions such as donating munitions, which I consider an important gesture of solidarity."

The Czech Republic joins the club of nations that have recently decided to send lethal weaponry to Ukraine amid the escalating security crisis that threatens a big war against invading Russia. Since November, Russia has concentrated over 120,000 troops close to the Ukrainian border or in its occupied territories, alarming Ukraine and the West.

As a result, throughout January, the U.S. provided Kyiv with nearly 700 FGM-148 Javelin missiles and nearly 200 SMAW-D anti-fortification weapons. The Baltic nations on Jan. 21 also vowed to send more Javelins and also FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft systems.

The Czech military, which has a considerable stock of Soviet-standard 152-millimeter artillery shells, is gradually switching to NATO-standard caliber 155-millimeter projectiles. As part of the project, the Czech Republic drops its old ShKH vz. 77 DANA self-propelled field guns in favor of more modern French-produced guns CAESAR.

Ukraine, despite numerous attempts to vitalize its projects to introduce 155-millimeter self-propelled howitzers Bohdana, still relies heavily on old 152-millimeter caliber and even seriously considers procuring old DANAs from the Czech Republic.

Following a number of catastrophic fires at munitions depots, Ukraine's military is prone to ammunition hunger, even though the manufacturing of 152-millimeter rounds was launched at the Artem Plant in Kyiv in 2018.

On Jan. 25, Cernochova also said Czechia was ready to contemplate sending troops to Ukraine and to provide shelter to Ukrainian women and children in the event of the Russian attack.

Illia Ponomarenko
Illia Ponomarenko
Defense reporter

Illia Ponomarenko is the defense and security reporter at the Kyiv Independent. He has reported about the war in eastern Ukraine since the conflict’s earliest days. He covers national security issues, as well as military technologies, production, and defense reforms in Ukraine. Besides, he gets deployed to the war zone of Donbas with Ukrainian combat formations. He has also had deployments to Palestine and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as an embedded reporter with UN peacekeeping forces. Illia won the Alfred Friendly Press Partners fellowship and was selected to work as USA Today's guest reporter at the U.S. Department of Defense.

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