Almost four months after the start of the Russian war of aggression in the Ukraine, the first heavy weapons arrived from Germany in the form of Panzerhaubitze 2000 artillery pieces.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov thanked Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) on Twitter on Tuesday. The Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk told the German Press Agency that all seven promised guns had arrived in Ukraine.
“We are grateful for this military support from the federal government,” said Melnyk. “At the same time, we assume that this was only the first important step in strengthening the defense capability of the Ukrainian army.”
Melnyk called on the government to organize further deliveries. “The German armaments industry is ready to produce 100 new self-propelled howitzers for the Ukraine at short notice. We very much hope that Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the Federal Security Council will approve the corresponding application.”
The Panzerhaubitze 2000 is the Bundeswehr’s most modern artillery piece. It looks like a giant battle tank and can hit targets 40 kilometers away. The Bundeswehr currently has such guns stationed in Lithuania to protect NATO’s eastern flank. The Bundeswehr recently trained Ukrainian soldiers at the artillery school in Idar-Oberstein in Rhineland-Palatinate. The training has now been completed, as the dpa learned.
With the Panzerhaubitze 2000, the Ukrainian armed forces hope to be able to better withstand the overwhelming Russian artillery. “Our artillerymen will bring the heat to the battlefield,” Defense Minister Reznikov tweeted about the delivery. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba recently said that Russian artillery is 15 times superior to that of Ukraine.
“This is the sixth type of 155mm artillery that we will receive,” Reznikov wrote on social media. Previously, Ukraine had already received US, British, Polish and French howitzers. He thanked the German partners for their help. But Kyiv continues to hope for stronger support, said Resnikov.
Melnyk told the dpa that only a “massive” expansion of deliveries of heavy weapons from Germany could “become a real game changer on the battlefield”. This could save thousands of lives, put Russia in its place militarily and create a real opportunity for peace negotiations.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the decision to supply German arms to Ukraine far-reaching, but correct. “It is now necessary,” said Scholz on Tuesday evening at the traditional asparagus drive of the Seeheimer Kreis of the SPD parliamentary group. This was the unanimous opinion in the SPD parliamentary group and is supported by the citizens.
Scholz said Russia must end the war and Ukraine must stand in freedom. “Everything we do is aimed at that.” The decision to deliver weapons to such a country was far-reaching. “Nevertheless, it was right to decide now and in this situation.”
The federal government published all other arms deliveries to Ukraine for the first time on Tuesday. Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit explained the step by adapting it to the practice of the closest allies – for example the USA.
The list includes all weapons and other armaments that have been delivered or are scheduled to be delivered. It can now be found on the website of the federal government. So far, it was only visible to members of parliament in the secret protection office of the Bundestag.
So far, the German government has only publicly announced its deliveries to the Ukrainian armed forces for defensive combat against Russia. However, they were published by the Ukrainian side after they arrived in the war zone.
Weapons delivered so far include 3,000 Panzerfaust cartridges, 100,000 hand grenades, 2,700 Fliegerfaust, 500 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, 100 machine guns and 16 million rounds of ammunition. In addition, there is a large amount of equipment such as 23,000 combat helmets, 178 motor vehicles, 1,200 hospital beds, a field hospital and much more.