(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s allies have lined up nearly all the funding required for a Czech-led initiative to purchase hundreds of thousands of artillery rounds, according to a government official familiar with the arrangements.

The commitments mean that the shells could be delivered to Ukraine in a matter of weeks, according to separate people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The precise timing would depend on contractual and delivery schedules, and could slip, the people cautioned.

The proposal would see the Czech Republic serve as the middleman to link governments willing to finance the purchase of excess ammunition, which would then be sent to Ukraine. 

“There is positive progress regarding the Czech initiative,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis Wednesday in the southern Ukrainian city of Odesa. “But we can assess positive results when the shells are in Ukraine.”

Czech President Petr Pavel said at the Munich Security Conference last month that his country had identified 500,000 rounds of 155mm shells and 300,000 rounds of 122mm ones that could be delivered within weeks if the money was made available.

Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada and France back the Czech plan to buy non-European Union ammunition, while Poland has expressed interest, Bloomberg reported earlier. A separate discussion of EU defense and foreign ministers is expected to take place later this week to hammer out the details.

Ukraine is estimated to need at least 200,000 rounds a month to keep up the fight against Russian forces, whose average daily shell use can be anywhere from three to five times what Ukrainian forces can fire.

European allies are struggling to meet commitments to supply Kyiv with military equipment at a delicate moment in the war, with Ukrainian officials concerned that Russian troops may break through their defenses by summer. 

The EU missed a pledge to provide Ukraine with 1 million rounds of artillery by this month just as the war-torn nation faces a critical shortage. More than $60 billion of proposed US emergency aid to Ukraine is stuck in Congress and fears are mounting in Europe that if Donald Trump is elected president in November he may withdraw support to Kyiv.

--With assistance from Daryna Krasnolutska, Mark Sweetman and Patrick Donahue.

(Updates with Zelenskiy’s comments in fourth paragraph.)

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