15:27 20.03.2024

First shells within Czech initiative should arrive in Ukraine no later than June – Czech Ministry of Defense

3 min read

The Czech Ministry of Defense expects that the first batches of artillery shells purchased under the Czech initiative will arrive in Ukraine no later than June to help Ukrainian forces defend against the expected summer offensive of the Russian Federation.

According to the press service of the Czech Ministry of Defense, the Czech initiative for the supply of ammunition was one of the main topics of the meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, held on Tuesday at the Ramstein military base. The progress of the Czech Republic in acquiring artillery ammunition for Ukraine was highly appreciated, in particular, by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. He called this initiative an example of a creative solution that can change the situation in Ukraine.

According to Defense Minister Jana Černochová, the ammunition, as part of the Czech initiative, should arrive in Ukraine just in time to help Ukrainians defend against the expected Russian summer offensive.

As the department said, currently Czech assistance to Ukraine in the field of artillery ammunition is based on three pillars. The first is long-term bilateral cooperation with Denmark and the Netherlands. The second component is direct cooperation with Ukraine. For Ukraine, this means the supply of several hundred thousand units of Soviet-caliber ammunition.

The third component that is currently in focus is the Czech initiative to provide mainly 155mm artillery ammunition or Soviet 152mm ammunition. A joint project was signed with Germany. It contains about 180,000 units of ammunition, which should be delivered to Ukraine by the end of the year. It is indicated that the first deliveries should arrive no later than June.

"Ensuring the fastest possible delivery is crucial for Ukraine in terms of defense against the planned summer offensive. If ammunition can begin to be supplied as part of this initiative before June, this will significantly help the defense of the Ukrainian army," the Czech Defense Minister said.

She added that efforts to secure ammunition and funds for it are far from complete.

"Ukrainian soldiers need ammunition in large quantities. We have found resources, but we need even more of the promised money," the minister noted.

More than 15 countries are cooperating with the Czech initiative. In addition, at the Ramstein meeting on Tuesday it was noted that the Czech initiative has inspired two other countries that want to follow the same approach as the Czech Republic, that is, to purchase ammunition from non-EU and non-NATO countries through bilateral cooperation with donor countries. They were able to find other possible supplies of ammunition and are now looking for partners to pay for the supplies.

"The fact that we have inspired other countries is great news. This means more supplies for Ukraine and more opportunities for Ukrainian soldiers," Černochová said.