Czechia wins broad support for shells-for-Ukraine plan in Paris

Emmanuel Macron and Petr Fiala

The Paris summit on Ukraine appears to have kicked into action a Czech plan to purchase badly needed ammunition for Ukraine outside of the EU. After struggling to secure international funding for the project, Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced on Monday that 15 EU member states are now willing to back the purchase.

The Paris conference on Ukraine came at a time when news from the front is not good and a growing number of Europeans are increasingly pessimistic about the chances that Ukraine will be able to defend its territory successfully.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and French President Emmanuel Macron | Photo: Thibault Camus,  Pool,  ČTK/AP

Addressing the gathering, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized the country’s pressing need for military support, saying reserves were dwindling and noting that the EU had barely delivered a third of the one million shells it had promised by the end of March.

The problem is that in addition to war fatigue and national interests, many EU members have drained the reserves they could afford to give Ukraine over the past two years and arms production in the EU is not proving sufficient to meet Ukraine’s needs.

Czech President Petr Pavel  | Photo: René Volfík,

As a former Soviet satellite, Czechia has been a strong advocate of unequivocal military and moral support for Ukraine, and having exhausted its own reserves of weapons and ammunition to give to Ukraine it sought to obtain deliveries from outside the EU. President Pavel recently announced that the Czech Republic had identified 800,000 shells for sale from several states outside the EU, but needed other governments to help foot the bill.

At the close of the talks in Paris, Prime Minister Fiala announced that the drive to find funds had finally gained momentum.

The Paris summit on Ukraine | Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes,  ČTK/AP

“We need to act fast. European states are working to increase their weapons production capacity and it seems that by 2025 the amount produced in the EU and in Ukraine could be sufficient to cover Ukraine’s and our needs. But Ukraine needs ammunition now and we need to bridge the gap. Czechia has found a way to purchase ammunition from third countries. We have been in talks with some countries willing to help finance the purchase but here in Paris it emerged that as many as 15 states would be willing to contribute financially. This means Ukraine could get the deliveries in the coming weeks and months. Because Ukraine needs support now.”

Soon after the Czech prime minister broke the news, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that his country would contribute 100 million euros to the purchase and President Emmanuel Macron said France will also be involved in the project. Canada and Denmark both expressed readiness to back the project earlier.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico | Photo: Lewis Joly,  ČTK/AP

President Macron said securing munitions deliveries to Ukraine was “a top priority”, but said partner countries would also work with the embattled country on cybersecurity and military production directly in Ukraine. A new coalition will also be formed to supply medium- and long-range missiles, he announced.

When questioned by reporters, Macron also responded to Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico's claim that some EU and NATO countries are considering sending troops to Ukraine under bilateral agreements. According to Macron, there is no consensus on sending allied troops to Ukraine, but he said that in view of developments "nothing can be ruled out."

Author: Daniela Lazarová | Sources: Český rozhlas , ČTK
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