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Ukraine Receives First Shipment of Heavy Weapons from Germany


The Gepard anti-aircraft system in action at a German firing range. | Image by Carsten Rehder

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Germany delivered its first shipment of self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine almost five months into the war with Russia, the Ukrainian minister of defense said on Tuesday.

As the nation’s ammunition supply from its existing Soviet-era arsenal was being exhausted, Ukraine has asked the West to provide more and better artillery, which is dwarfed by Russian supplies, The Dallas Express reported.

In May, Germany stated it would send the equipment after Ukraine attempted to stop Moscow’s advances in the Donbas.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last week that weapons shipments from Berlin were “less than they could be” after a long wait for the German arms.

“We have replenishment!… The German Panzerhaubitze 2000 with trained Ukrainian crews joined the Ukrainian artillery family,” Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, said on social media. He also thanked Christine Lambrecht, his German counterpart.

The Panzerhaubitze 2000 is one of the most effective Bundeswehr artillery weapons, capable of hitting targets at a distance of 25 miles. Germany’s army has about 100 howitzer 2000s in stock, but only 40 are ready for combat.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday, “One thing is clear. We will continue to send weapons to Ukraine for as long as it needs our support.”

Berlin said the shipment of Panzerhaubitze 2000s was delayed because Ukrainian troops had not completed training on how to use the weapons.

German opposition leader Friedrich Merz, who visited Ukraine before Scholz, called the chancellor a “miserable” ally to Ukraine due to the delay.

Still, Scholz claimed previously that Germany was supplying weapons “more intensively than almost anyone else.”

After the German shipment arrived, Andriy Yermak, who heads the Ukraine president’s office, posted a list of additional weapons pledged by Germany, including three MARS II multiple rocket launchers, 30 Gepard tanks, and 500 shoulder-fired Stinger missiles.

Other countries that have provided Ukraine with self-propelled and towed howitzers include Britain, France, Norway, Poland, and the United States.     

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