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EU countries seek to raise $1.5 bln to buy ammunition for Ukraine - FT

EU countries seek to raise $1.5 bln to buy ammunition for Ukraine - FT EU countries seek to raise $1.5 bln to buy ammunition for Ukraine (Photo: Getty Images)

European Union countries are trying to gather $1.5 billion as emergency funding to provide Ukraine with artillery shells from abroad to strengthen the front line against Russia, according to the Financial Times.

The latest initiative to purchase ammunition outside the EU is spearheaded by Czechia to compensate for the deadlock in the US Congress regarding aid and delays in European production.

Prague has taken the initiative while European capitals are debating the extension of the main mechanism for military support to Kyiv from the EU.

Officials familiar with the discussions say that the country needs European partners to help allocate $1.5 billion for ammunition purchases, which Prague has been organizing since Russia launched a full-scale invasion in February 2022.

"The Czechs have done the work, but they need others to provide money," said a person familiar with this initiative.

Some EU members have already made their contributions, officials familiar with the Czech scheme say.

EU ambassadors failed to agree on the purchase of ammunition outside the bloc at a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday and aimed to agree on the rules for the new capital injection at the EU leaders' summit on March 21.

Germany insists that its conditional contribution of approximately €1.25 billion should be reduced to reflect its significant bilateral military assistance to Ukraine, which this year will amount to €7 billion.

France and Greece insist that the expanded EPF should only purchase weapons and ammunition from EU and Norwegian manufacturers, which would prevent it from financing the Czech plan or purchasing ammunition from the United States.

Shortage of shells

Ukrainian defenders are experiencing a shortage of artillery shells, which directly affects the situation on the front line. In particular, Ukrainian defenders recently had to retreat from Avdiivka against the backdrop of a very difficult situation around the city.

Following this, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated that Kyiv would not have lost Avdiivka if allies had timely delivered artillery shells.

Earlier, military expert and former spokesperson of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Vladyslav Seleznov, explained in a comment to RBC-Ukraine how Ukraine could solve the problem of shell shortages.