Saturday, June 25, 2022

Ukraine conflict: Germany to supply PzH 2000s to Kyiv

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Training of more than 60 Ukrainian soldiers on the PzH 2000 SPH was scheduled to begin in the week of 9 May at the
Bundeswehr’s artillery school in Idar-Oberstein. (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann)

The Panzerhaubitzen 2000 artillery system is a track-mounted vehicle with a cannon that can fire shells up to 40 kilometers (25 miles), according to the German military.

Training of more than 60 Ukrainian soldiers on the PzH 2000 SPH was scheduled to begin in the week of 9 May at the Bundeswehr’s artillery school in Idar-Oberstein. (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann)

Training of the Ukrainian artillery crews on the Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000 155 mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH) was scheduled to begin in the week of 9 May following German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht’s announcement that Berlin would supply Kyiv with seven of the systems. She told a press conference in Sliac, Slovakia, on 6 May that the SPHs would come from the German Army’s pool of weapons, which are in maintenance, so their transfer to Ukraine would not adversely affect the Bundeswehr.The German Defense Ministry did not give a time frame for the delivery of the howitzers, but the training of Ukrainian soldiers is set to begin next week. The German Army said on its website on 6 May that seven German PzH 2000s would be sent to Ukraine along with five from the Netherlands. Ukrainian soldiers will be trained on the SPH at the Bundeswehr’s artillery school in Idar-Oberstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, southwestern Germany. The training will be conducted by the Bundeswehr together with its Dutch counterparts.

Berlin changes course

The delivery of German howitzers marks another shift in Berlin’s policy towards arming Ukraine.The German government under Chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly come under fire, especially from its partners in Kyiv, for not doing enough to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion.

The first U-turn saw Berlin go back on its tradition of not sending weapons into regions involved in conflict, but until recently, it had been reluctant to send heavy weaponry. The German artillery will expand the handful of howitzers that have also been pledged by the Netherlands. The German and Dutch militaries are set to cooperate in the training of some 20 Ukrainian soldiers — already with some artillery experience — who will be trained starting next week in the western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, German news program Tagesschau reported. Lambrecht said the German howitzers will only be sent once the Ukrainian soldiers know how to use them.

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