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Germany earmarks €300 million more to arm Ukraine – Bloomberg

Berlin has joined a Czech-led initiative to buy 800,000 artillery rounds for Kiev

Germany has pledged to donate another €300 million ($326 million) as part of a Czech-led initiative to purchase artillery rounds for Ukraine, Bloomberg has reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the decision. Czech President Petr Pavel unveiled the scheme at the Munich Security Conference in mid-February, setting the target at 800,000 shells.  

In recent weeks, Ukrainian officials have increasingly been sounding the alarm over the country’s dwindling ammunition stockpiles due to which Kiev’s troops have been badly outgunned on the front line.  

The shortages have intensified amid a months-long deadlock in the US Congress where the Republicans have been refusing to give the green light to President Joe Biden’s foreign aid package that envisages $60 billion for Kiev. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has also accused the EU of failing to deliver on a pledge to deliver a million shells by March.

On Thursday, Bloomberg said that Germany’s contribution to the initiative would cover the purchase of approximately 180,000 shells – the same estimate as the one given on Tuesday by the country’s defense minister, Boris Pistorius. 

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Berlin’s participation in the initiative was confirmed earlier this month by German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit.

A separate defense aid package for Ukraine unveiled by Pistorius on Tuesday is worth €500 million ($543 million), and includes 10,000 artillery shells from Bundeswehr (German military) stocks, as well as 100 infantry vehicles and 100 unarmored vehicles. 

Germany is Ukraine’s second-largest Western backer, second only to the US. To date, Berlin has donated €17.7 billion in military aid for Kiev, according to estimates by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. 

As for the push to purchase artillery shells spearheaded by Prague, 18 nations have so far committed to it, including Canada, the Netherlands, France, Denmark and Belgium. 

READ MORE: Russia is at war – Kremlin

Earlier this week, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky revealed that Prague had secured 300,000 artillery rounds, with media reports claiming that those could be delivered to Ukraine by June.  

Under the scheme, the Czech Republic raises money and acts as a middleman sourcing the ammunition from countries outside of the EU that are reluctant to supply the rounds directly to Ukraine.  

The Kremlin has repeatedly warned that the ever-growing involvement of Western countries in the Ukraine conflict could result in an all-out confrontation between NATO and Russia. Moscow also insists that weapons deliveries will not change the outcome of the conflict but merely prolong the hostilities.


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