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Czechia purchases ammunition for Ukraine from Russia's allies, WSJ reports

Czechia purchases ammunition for Ukraine from Russia's allies, WSJ reports Illustrative photo (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

Czechia is using its Cold War contacts to obtain much-needed ammunition for Ukraine. With US arms aid blocked, ammunition production in the West slowly growing, and Kyiv's stockpiles dwindling, Prague is buying from countries that are allies of Moscow, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Czechia has received about 800,000 artillery shells from various suppliers around the world and has identified another 700,000 units that can be ordered if additional funding is available. So far, the first tranche of 300,000 shells has been secured, with Germany making the largest contribution.

The country's former affiliation with the former Soviet bloc proved to be an unexpected help. Czechia inherited a large arms industry with customers all over the world and good relations with many countries in the Global South that have large stockpiles of Soviet-era weapons and the capacity to produce even more.

Although Prague is silent on where the ammunition comes from, the newspaper claims that Russia's allies are among the suppliers. The trade agreements stipulate that deliveries will be made through Czechia or third countries to hide any direct connection between the countries of origin and Ukraine and to avoid exposing the supplier to Moscow's wrath.

Tomas Pojar, national security adviser to Prime Minister Petr Fiala says confidentiality is the key point, they talk and will talk to everyone, regardless of their loyalty or political position - with some exceptions, such as North Korea.

For his part, Jan Jiresh, Czech Deputy Defense Minister, says the Czech initiative revealed a contradiction between the publicly friendly attitude of some governments toward Russia and their willingness to make deals with Ukraine's allies in private.

Czechia found shells for Ukraine

In recent months, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have faced an acute shortage of artillery ammunition at the front. Recently, for this reason, our soldiers had to retreat from the city of Avdiivka and lost several other settlements in the Donetsk region.

In February, Czech President Petr Pavel said that Prague had found 800,000 artillery rounds for Ukraine's military needs: half a million of 155 mm caliber and 300,000 of 122 mm caliber. However, funds needed to be raised to purchase them.

Recently, Pavel said that the allies have already found almost all the necessary funds to purchase the announced batch.

At the same time, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that the Czech initiative was promised another 200,000 rounds of ammunition for Ukraine on an optional basis.