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Czech Initiative Could Provide 1.5 Million Shells to Ukrainian Forces.

| Defense News Army 2024

On March 26, 2024, the Czech Republic announced its intention to potentially double its support in ammunition to Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict. Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jan Lipavsky, in a conversation with Bloomberg, revealed that Ukraine could receive 1.5 million shells, a substantial increase from the initial promise of 800,000 shells.
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Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jan Lipavsky revealed that Ukraine could receive 1.5 million shells. (Picture source: Rheinmetall)

If you haven't been following the topic closely, the Czech Republic has initiated an effort to source 800,000 shells from outside the European Union (potentially from Japan, South Korea, etc.) to provide them to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which are in dire need. Initially met with reluctance, many European countries gradually joined the project by allocating funds. Even outside of Europe, the Czech project has garnered support, with countries like Canada promising to participate. With such enthusiasm, the promise of 800,000 shells could well increase to 1.5 million for Ukrainian forces, representing more than massive assistance.

The Czech initiative, first articulated on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference by President Petr Pavel, identified approximately 800,000 shells available in third-party countries—500,000 of caliber 155 mm and 300,000 of caliber 122 mm—that EU members could acquire for Ukraine. This initiative gained traction and support from several countries, underscoring the collective effort to assist Ukraine in its military challenges.

Even Iceland, a country that does not have its army, announced on March 25 its decision to allocate 2 million euros to the purchase of shells for Ukraine. The Czech proposal not only signifies material support but also serves as a morale booster for the Ukrainian army, as articulated by Lipavsky. The assurance of new ammunition supplies has altered the strategic approach of the Ukrainian army, allowing for a more confident deployment of existing stocks.

However, despite this positive momentum, Lipavsky warned that the Czech initiative alone would not suffice to address Ukraine's complete support needs. This statement reflects the ongoing complexities and scale of assistance required to effectively address the security situation.

This move by the Czech Republic and its allies represents a critical moment in the international response to the conflict in Ukraine, providing not only military aid but also a symbol of unwavering support against aggression. As the security situation in Europe remains precarious, the greatest since World War II according to the Czech counterintelligence chief, initiatives like these are crucial in shaping the trajectory of the conflict and broader regional stability.

The Czech initiative would thus be a resounding success and represent more than substantial assistance for Ukrainian forces. Indeed, Ukraine currently fires approximately 7,000 shells per day, so the arrival of 1.5 million shells represents 214 days' worth of ammunition stocks under current conflict conditions, an overwhelmingly massive aid, especially if combined with others promised by Europe and the United States. With such a quantity of ammunition, however, one could imagine Ukraine intensifying its shellfire to deter Russian advances.


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