The Panzerhaubitze 2000, one of the most powerful artillery weapons in German army inventories, traveled to war-torn Ukraine on Tuesday after repeated calls across the political spectrum and among the public to that the government of Olaf Scholz increases the country’s aid to Kyiv. A prominent national journalist called the shipment “finally something to be commended for Germany”.
The weapon can hit targets at a distance of 40 kilometers (25 miles).
Berlin has pledged to supply Kyiv with seven self-propelled howitzers in May, adding to the five such artillery systems the Netherlands had already pledged.
Although the cargo does not meet Ukraine’s needs – Kyiv has previously said it needs 1,000 howitzers, 500 tanks and 1,000 drones to repel Russian troops – Germany’s contribution has been met with praise.
Ukrainian journalist Oleksiy Sorokin of the Kyiv Independent wrote on Twitter: “A major boost to Ukraine’s war efforts and finally something to be commended for Germany.”
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on social media: “We have a resupply!
“The German Panzerhaubitze 2000 with trained Ukrainian crews has joined the Ukrainian artillery family.”
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Thanking his German counterpart Christine Lambrecht and Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongrenhis, Reznikov described the delivery as “an example of international cooperation in favor of Ukraine”.
Other countries that have supplied Ukraine with self-propelled and towed howitzers include the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Norway and Poland.
Mr Yermak, as part of Kyiv’s efforts to advocate for more and better Western artillery, released a list of other weapons promised by Germany, including 30 Gepard tanks and three MARS multiple rocket launchers II, as well as 500 shoulder-fired Stinger missiles.
The German government, meanwhile, shared its first comprehensive list showing both the equipment it said it had already sent to Ukraine and the items it had promised that were still being arranged.
In addition to Tuesday’s delivery, the German Defense Ministry said it sent 14,900 anti-tank mines, 500 STINGER air defense missiles and 2,700 anti-aircraft missiles, 16 million handgun cartridges and 100,000 hand grenades, among others equipment.
As part of non-lethal supplies, Berlin provided equipment including, but not limited to, 175 vehicles, 23,000 combat helmets, 10,000 sleeping bags, 1,200 hospital beds and 100 tents.
The list of weapons still to be delivered included 30 Gepard (Cheetah) tanks and three MARS II multiple rocket launchers.
Chancellor Scholz was initially hesitant to supply Kyiv with heavy weapons, initially offering to send non-lethal supplies such as combat helmets only.
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As Europe’s largest economy and the world’s fifth largest arms exporter, its position has come under scrutiny.
Following widespread pressure, the German leader announced a reversal of policy. Then, however, the lack of speed in sending the promised and much-needed weapons came under criticism from President Volodymyr Zelensky and his aides.
Scholz’s team defended the delays, saying they needed to ensure Ukrainian forces received training on new weapons systems and that defense industry protocols needed to be radically changed to consider deliveries.
Critics also targeted Mr. Scholz’s language regarding the deadly conflict in Ukraine.
In several cases, he used formulations such as “Putin must not win, Ukraine must exist”. Yet he never explicitly mentions a Ukrainian war victory.
But last week, during a symbolic visit to Kyiv with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian President Mario Draghi, the Chancellor reinforced her country’s wishes of support for Ukraine.
He said: “My colleagues and I came here to Kyiv today with a clear message: ‘Ukraine belongs to the European family’.
“But we don’t just want to show solidarity, we also want to make sure that the aid we are organizing – financial and humanitarian, but also in terms of armaments – will continue.”