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Politico: Czechia advocates buying artillery shells for Ukraine from outside EU

The Czech Republic leads a push for the EU to procure artillery shells from outside the bloc to meet its commitments to Ukraine.
155 mm artillery shells
155 mm artillery shells which Ukraine critically lacks after the disruption of US aid in December 2023. Illustrative photo.

As Ukraine faces a shortage of artillery shells, the Czech Republic pushes the EU to procure ammunition from outside the bloc to meet its commitments to Ukraine, Politico reported. This suggestion points to potential purchases from countries like South Korea, Türkey, and South Africa to meet the urgent needs of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

In March 2023, the EU set a 12-month deadline to donate ammunition to aid Ukraine in countering Russia’s aggression. Still, the EU defense industries have struggled to scale up production, casting doubt on meeting this target.

According to Politico, the shortfall has prompted discussions at the highest levels of the EU, with proposals to finance the acquisition of an estimated 450,000 rounds of artillery beyond the EU’s borders. These discussions, shared by four diplomats and an individual familiar with the talks, reflect Prague’s push against the initial EU strategy, heavily influenced by France, to focus on enhancing local defense production capacities, as per Politico.

In correspondence reviewed by Bloomberg, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Rustem Umerov detailed to his EU counterparts about the severe shortfall in artillery, with Ukrainian forces able to deploy a maximum of 2,000 shells daily over a 1,500-kilometer (930-mile) frontline. This rate falls significantly short of Russia’s ammunition usage, amounting to less than one-third.

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