Germany to send seven self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine

Germany to send seven self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine

SLIAC/Slovakia, May 6 (Reuters) – Germany will deliver seven self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine, in addition to five such artillery systems already promised by the Dutch government, the German defense minister said on Friday. Christine Lambrecht.

Germany reversed its longstanding policy of not sending heavy weapons to war zones last week following internal and external pressure to help Ukraine repel Russian attacks.

The heavy weapons will come out of Bundeswehr inventories and be delivered as they come out of maintenance over the next few weeks, Lambrecht and his chief of defense, General Eberhard Zorn, told reporters in the Slovakian town of Sliac.

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The training of the first group of about 20 Ukrainian soldiers on the Panzerhaubitze 2000 should begin next week in the German town of Idar-Oberstein, Zorn said, adding that these troops had experience in the use of Soviet-made howitzers.

Ukraine’s demands for heavy weapons have intensified since Moscow turned its heaviest firepower to the east and south of the country after failing to take the capital kyiv. Read more

Berlin will also supply an initial ammunition package for howitzers built by German defense firm KMW, Zorn said, with additional ammunition purchases to be handled directly between Kyiv and the company.

The Panzerhaubitze 2000 is one of the most powerful artillery weapons in Bundeswehr inventories and can hit targets at a range of 40 km (25 miles).

Last week, Berlin agreed for the first time to supply kyiv with heavy weapons, in this case Gepard air defense tanks, after critics accused Germany of dragging its feet on heavy weapons deliveries. in Kyiv.

Most of the heavy weapons that NATO countries have sent to Ukraine so far are Soviet-made weapons still in the inventories of Eastern European NATO member states, but the United States and some other allies began supplying kyiv with Western howitzers.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West say the fascist allegation is baseless and that the war is an unprovoked act of aggression.

Lambrecht will meet his Dutch counterpart Kajsa Ollongren later today in Sliac, where both countries have deployed Patriot air defenses since Russia invaded Ukraine.

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Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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