UPDATE 1-Czech defence minister to propose ammunition shipment to Ukraine

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PRAGUE, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Czech Defence Minister Jana Cernochova will propose to the cabinet next week a shipment of artillery ammunition to Ukraine amid fears that Russia could be readying an invasion.

Western states fear Moscow is planning a new assault on Ukraine after sending in forces into the former Soviet republic 2014 to annex the Crimea peninsula.

Cernochova said the Czech Republic had picked 152-milimetre caliber ammunition from a list of supplies requested by the government in Kiev.

“It would be a donation, we are sorting the procedure so that it can be done as soon as possible. We are saying to Ukraine clearly that we are with them,” she said after meeting with Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky over the matter.

Cernochova said further details on the shipment would be released after cabinet debates the proposal next Wednesday.

Lipavsky said the Czech Republic was prepared for the “worst-case scenario” in the situation caused by Russia’s “blackmail tactics threatening an invasion of Ukraine”.

Russia denies planning an attack but says it could take unspecified military action if its security demands are not met.

Despite intense diplomacy here with Russia, the United States and its NATO allies say they cannot consider demands that Moscow is making for security guarantees while it masses troops near its neighbour's border and holds live-fire exercises in Belarus here. (Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Catherine Evans and Angus MacSwan)