With only a small part of the pledged shells to be delivered to Ukraine next month under the Czech ammunition initiative, Prague stepped up calls on its European allies on Thursday (30 May) to fulfill their commitments and help shop ammunition abroad for Kyiv.

“Only 5 countries [out of the 20 that pledged cash] have sent the financial allocations at the end of May,” Tomáš Kopečný, the Czech government’s envoy for the reconstruction of Ukraine, told reporters in Prague on the eve of a NATO foreign ministerial meeting on Friday (May 31).

Prague has been leading the ammunition coalition efforts – including the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, and the United States – in a bid to get cash from Kyiv’s backers to purchase ammunition globally, while a separate EU-led initiative has heavily focused on bloc-made products.

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But three months after Czechia went public with its move, only a few countries have pitched in, Prague said.

As part of a first delivery under the initiative, Ukraine’s armed forces will receive “between 50,000 and 100,000” ammunition rounds in June, Kopečný said.

In an interview with Euractiv earlier this week, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský  was not been able to give more specific details on time and quantity.

“The pace of deliveries depends on the single thing of the availability of financial resources,” Kopečný said.

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Czechia has “trustworthy commitments for 500,000 shells within two and a half months, which is worth slightly more than €1.5 billion,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian arm runs through an estimated 200,000 pieces of artillery shells per month “in order to make a balance, not to overshoot the enemy”, Kopečný said, adding the total needed was worth between €7-€10 billion per year.

According to the government’s top Ukraine envoy, 100,000 ammunition shells would cost around €3 billion.

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Czech President Petr Pavel, a retired army general, stated in early spring that a total of 800,000 pieces of ammunition shells had been localised. It is, however, unclear whether they will be ready to be delivered in the short term.

“It is something we can reach,” Kopečný said. “We can also reach two million, the only thing we need for that is corresponding finances,” he said.

At the same time, the Czech official warned that Russia is beating Ukraine’s supporters in reaching the necessary ammunition targets.

The delays in delivery – with only a quarter of the pledges coming through – come as Ukraine is outgunned and unmanned on the ground against slowly advancing Russian troops.

It also comes in the midst of a debate in Western capitals about whether their delivered weapons may be used by the Ukrainian side to hit military targets inside Russia, especially where enemy stocks and firing power are positioned.

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