50% of shells bought under Czech initiative need to be fixed before being sent to Ukraine – FT
Artillery shells (Illustrative photo: EPA)

The Czech company Czechoslovak Group, which acted as an intermediary for the supply of artillery rounds from Africa and Asia, explained the delay in the delivery of ammunition within the framework of the Czech initiative to Ukraine by the fact that almost half of them turned out to be of poor quality, the head of CSG, Michal Strnad, said in an interview with The Financial Times.

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About 50% of the stocks that his company purchased on behalf of the Czech government in Africa and Asia turned out to be of poor quality and need to be improved before being sent to Ukraine. As Strnad noted, CSG is forced to add missing components of its own production to some projectiles.

At the same time, he assured that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will receive the first artillery shells within the framework of the Czech initiative in June.

The war in Ukraine contributed to the increase in prices for the limited number of shells that could be purchased outside the European Union, while the necessary ammunition was not available in Europe itself, Strnad added.

The head of the CSG company stressed that orders from European ammunition manufacturers were booked eight years in advance, even though all of them are increasing production capacity. Even if the war in Ukraine ended right now, "there will be huge work in front of us to replenish the strategic stocks of NATO countries," he said.

On May 28, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Fiala noted that Kyiv can expect the first batch of 155-mm artillery shells "in the coming days." According to him, 15 EU and NATO countries have already contributed more than 1.6 billion euros to the initiative to purchase artillery shells for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

On May 29, Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová stated that only four countries – Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and Portugal – provided the funds to purchase this ammunition.