Germany earmarks €300 million more to arm Ukraine – Bloomberg — RT World News

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

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

In recent weeks, Ukrainian officials have increasingly sounded the alarm over the country's dwindling ammunition stockpiles, which have caused Kiev's forces to be vastly outmatched on the front line.

The shortage has worsened amid a months-long stalemate in the US Congress, as Republicans refuse to give the green light to President Joe Biden's foreign aid package, which includes $60 billion for Kiev. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky also accused the European Union of failing to fulfill its pledge to deliver one million shells by March.

Bloomberg said on Thursday that Germany's contribution to the initiative would cover the purchase of approximately 180,000 shells – the same estimate given by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on Tuesday.

Berlin's participation in the initiative was confirmed earlier this month by German government spokesman Stephen Hebstreit.

The separate defense aid package for Ukraine that Pistorius unveiled on Tuesday is worth 500 million euros ($543 million), and includes 10,000 artillery shells from the German army's stockpile, in addition to 100 infantry vehicles and 100 unarmored vehicles.

Germany is the second largest Western supporter of Ukraine, second only to the United States. So far, Berlin has donated €17.7 billion in military aid to Kiev, according to estimates by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

As for the artillery purchase campaign led by Prague, 18 countries have so far committed to it, including Canada, the Netherlands, France, Denmark and Belgium.

Earlier this week, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Libavski revealed that Prague had acquired 300,000 artillery shells, and media reports claimed they could be delivered to Ukraine by June.

Under this scheme, the Czech Republic collects funds and acts as an intermediary in obtaining ammunition from non-EU countries that are reluctant to supply ammunition directly to Ukraine.

The Kremlin has repeatedly warned that the increasing interference of Western countries in the Ukrainian conflict could lead to an all-out confrontation between NATO and Russia. Moscow also insists that the delivery of weapons will not change the outcome of the conflict, but will only prolong hostilities.

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