Czech Republic buys ammunition for Ukraine from countries considered Russia's allies – WSJ

Artillery ammunition
Artillery ammunition

The Czech Republic is looking for ammunition for Ukraine around the world, with even allies of Russia among the suppliers, The Wall Street Journal reported on March 17.

The Czech Republic, having intensified Cold War ties, has received about 800,000 artillery shells from various suppliers around the world and has identified another 700,000 pieces that could be purchased for additional money.

Read also: Security source reveals Czech President Pavel found artillery stockpile critical to Ukraine's defense

Unlike the United States, France, or Germany, which focused on increasing domestic production to supply Ukraine, Prague focused on finding sources of supply for existing weapons.

The WSJ writes that the country's former affiliation with the USSR has been "an unexpected blessing." Czechia inherited a strong defense industry with clients around the world. The country also has good relations with many countries in the Global South that have large stockpiles of Soviet-era weapons and can produce even more.

According to Czech government officials, they have begun traveling the world negotiating the purchase of shells and export licenses with producing countries.

Read also: Czechia can purchase 200,000 additional artillery shells for Ukraine — PM Fiala

Czech officials are silent on where the shells come from. However, according to the newspaper, some of the suppliers include Russia's allies.

Tomáš Kopecký, Czechia's special representative to Ukraine, said that Prague acts as an intermediary. The Czech Republic negotiates with a country that has stocks of shells or can produce them, and connects it with a Western country that places an order and pays for the delivery.

At the same time, the agreements stipulate that the deliveries will be made through the Czech Republic or third countries to hide any direct connection between the countries of origin and Ukraine, so as not to "expose the supplier to the wrath of Moscow."

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

"Confidentiality is the key point: We are talking and will talk to everyone, regardless of their loyalty or political position – with some exceptions, such as North Korea," said Tomáš Pojár, National Security Advisor to the Czech government.

Czech Deputy Defense Minister Jan Jireš noted that the country has found discrepancies between the publicly friendly attitude of some governments toward Russia and their willingness to conclude agreements with Ukraine's allies in private.

Read also: Ukraine to receive first shipment of Czech-contracted ammunition in coming weeks — Prague

"If you come with a bag of money, they are interested in it, and the Czech Republic, unlike the United States, is perceived as a neutral country," said Jakub Janda, director of the Prague-based European Values Center for Security Policy.

Bild reported on March 11 that the Czech Republic had purchased 800,000 artillery rounds from third countries and that they could be delivered to Ukraine within a few weeks. According to the tabloid, Czechia could have sourced the ammunition from South Korea, South Africa, and Turkey.


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