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Greece joins Czech artillery shell initiative as 155mm ammunition provider.

| Defense News Army 2024

Greece will join the Czech Republic's initiative to purchase ammunition for Ukraine from third countries, as an ammunition provider proposing a deal of 150 million euros for the sale of a "large amount of live ammunition". This was stated in an article on Ukrainian media ukraininform, quoting the Greek article of ieidiseis.
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Illustration picture of 155mm shell (Picture source: OSINT )

Igniting the flames of political controversy, Greece has announced its decision to supply €150 million worth of 155mm shells to the Czech initiative aimed at sending 800,000 shells to Ukraine. This marks the first official announcement of its kind from a country committing to provide material support rather than financial aid. Greece has proposed a sale amounting to €150 million, which, by our calculations, equates to approximately 25,000 shells. According to Nexter, the complete cost of a 155mm shell is around €5,500 in Europe, which only fulfills an 3% of the Czech requests.

The Czech Initiative for Ukraine is a multinational effort aimed at providing essential artillery ammunition to Ukraine by purchasing 800,000 shells of various calibers from non-EU countries. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced a contribution of 100 million euros to this initiative, following a meeting in Paris aimed at strengthening support for Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion. The initiative has attracted the interest of some 15 countries and focuses on the urgent search for artillery ammunition on global markets for Ukraine.

France, led by President Emmanuel Macron, has also joined this initiative, highlighting its usefulness and confirming Paris's participation. Macron mentioned that the EU's European Peace Facility fund could partially finance the Czech purchase plan, emphasizing the goal of finding the necessary ammunition for Ukraine, regardless of its origin. However, Macron insisted on the importance of focusing on supporting the European defense industry rather than purchasing finished military equipment from outside the bloc.

The Russo-Ukrainian war has evolved into a true "artillery duel," highlighting the crucial importance of ammunition in this conflict. According to European Union estimates, Ukraine was using between 4,000 and 7,000 artillery shells per day last summer, while Russia was launching over 20,000 daily into Ukrainian territory. At times, the number of shells fired by Russia even reached between 20,000 and 50,000 per day.

This massive consumption of shells illustrates why the EU's joint ammunition purchase project and other international initiatives are urgently needed. The current production cannot keep up with the intense pace of use on the battlefield, where Ukraine is depleting its artillery reserves faster than its allies can produce and supply them. The 155 mm caliber shells, in particular, are in high demand, and the EU estimates that Ukraine needs at least 357,000 of these shells per month to effectively support its military objectives. However, the current production capacity of EU factories is about 450,000 of these shells per year, well below the needs.

The critical situation of artillery shell stocks in Ukraine, combined with the limited production capacity, makes the efforts to increase the supply of ammunition to Ukraine not only urgent but also vital for Ukraine's ability to maintain its defense and pursue its military objectives against Russian aggression.

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