Czechia urges allies to meet commitments, fund ammunition for Ukraine

Jana Černochová, Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic

© APA | Jana Černochová, Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic

# 29 May 2024 18:19 (UTC +04:00)

Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová called on its European allies to contribute financially to the Czech ammunition initiative, as only four countries have so far met their financial commitments, APA reports citing Euractiv.

Czechia has taken a proactive role in addressing Ukraine’s urgent need for artillery ammunition through the so-called Czech initiative. This campaign involves sourcing artillery shells from the global market.

The initiative has secured financial commitments from 18 countries, mainly EU and NATO member states. Czechia has positioned itself as a mediator, negotiating memorandums on donors’ commitments and procurement agreements and then coordinating the logistical aspects of the deliveries.

While the number of countries pledging financial support is growing, only a few of them have actually sent the money.

“Funds flow to us gradually; we cannot buy ammunition on debt,” the Czech defence minister said, underscoring the logistical and financial challenges involved.

“If some countries have signed a memorandum but have not yet sent funds, we cannot proceed with acquisitions. It is a bit of an appeal to those governments which have already signed memorandums to send the money,” Černochová said to Czech journalists after Tuesday’s meeting of defence ministers in Brussels.

She also revealed that only Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Portugal have sent money to buy the ammunition so far.

The first ammunition is expected to be delivered to Ukraine in early June. This was also confirmed by the Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS, ECR) who discussed the initiative with Polish President Andrzej Duda, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Latvian Prime Minister Evika Siliņa and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal during their Tuesday’s informal dinner in Prague.

The first tens of thousands of 155 mm ammunition will arrive in Ukraine in June, the Czech prime minister informed, adding that Ukraine can expect the first shipment in the next few days.

According to Frederiksen, the money collected so far is enough to purchase 500,000 pieces of ammunition by the end of the year. “It can change the situation on the battlefield,” she said during the press conference in Prague.