Estonian Defense Minister highlights funding shortfall for artillery shell purchase under Czech initiative for Ukraine

Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur
Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur

There is still not enough money to buy shells for Ukraine under Czech initiative, said Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur, Estonian news outlet ERR reported on March 29.

He also said that it is necessary to check whether the existing ammunition is fit for use, so some of these shells may reach the frontlines only by the end of the year.

Read also: Ukraine to receive one million shells, up from 800,000, under $2 billion Czech initiative

According to Pevkur, there are places in the world where you can buy shells, but the question is in funding.

"If we are talking about a million shells, it is about $3.24 billion," he said.

Read also: Bild names three countries from which Czech Republic could buy 800,000 shells for Ukraine

"Altrough there are different calibers, smaller ones may be a little cheaper. It would be great if everything could be done in short time. At the moment, we can say that lack of money is bigger than lack of shells."

He also noted that they are trying to find funds in the countries of Northern and Central Europe.

Read also: Russia produces almost three times more artillery shells than the US and the EU can supply to Ukraine

He also pointed out that it is difficult to predict when the shells might arrive at the frontline: some are likely to arrive in a few months, while others will be delivered only by the end of the year.

Pevkur also added that the most critical situation at the front is with anti-aircraft missiles, which Ukraine is running out of, but Estonia has nothing to offer because it does not have such weapons in reserve.

Czech initiative to purchase ammunition for Ukraine: what is known

For the first time, Czech President Petr Pavel announced the possibility of purchasing 800.000 sshells of ammunition for Ukraine on Feb. 17.

A representative of the Ukrainian security forces told NV that the shells are planned to be purchased in South Korea and South Africa. The contract is worth about $2 billion.

It became known that the allies had raised the entire amount needed to purchase the shells on March 7.

Read also: France, Greece, Cyprus block plans to buy artillery shells outside EU – German MP

On March 11, German newspaper Bild reported that Czechia had purchased 800,000 artillery shells from third countries, which could be delivered to Ukraine within a few weeks. According to the newspaper, Czechiz could have purchased the ammunition in South Korea, South Africa and Turkiye.

Czech Prime Minister's National Security Advisor Tomáš Pojar said on March 12 that the ammunition could arrive in Ukraine in June.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on March 13 that about 800,000 artillery shells purchased for Ukraine under the Czech initiative will start arriving at the front in the near future.

Read also: Ukraine set to launch production of 155 mm shells by second half of year

The Wall Street Journal wrote on March 18 that Prague is looking for ammunition for Ukraine around the world, with even Russia's allies among the suppliers.

Finnish government also decided to allocate $32.4 million to the Czech initiative to purchase ammunition on March 19.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that a large amount of ammunition would be sent to Ukraine in the near future thanks to the Czech initiative on March 22.

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