Germany has decided to send seven PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine to aid its defense against the Russian invasion that has been ongoing since February 24.
Reports from Germany said the would supply the systems to Ukraine following operational training that would be delivered for Ukrainian personnel in Germany.
German daily WELT said the political decision had been made against advice from the defense ministry, which argued that only some 40 of the overall 119 PzH 2000 howitzers in the German military inventory were operational. The defense ministry also pointed to potential issues that could arise from the complexity of the system’s digital fire control system.
It should be noted that the Netherlands is also sending the same howitzer to Ukraine, following an announcement from mid-April. A total of five Dutch PzH 2000s would be transferred following the completion of operator training. Ukrainian soldiers are already training on the Dutch heavy artillery in Germany.
The decision to send howitzers to Ukraine follows an announcement from last week, when Germany said it would be sending the Gepard anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine. The move was complicated by Switzerland’s veto the re-export of ammunition for the tanks. A solution is said to have been found in Brazil, which also operates the Gepards, after the South American country reportedly expressed willingness to sell large quantities of the 35 mm rounds.
These two decisions by Germany mark a significant turn in the country’s stance towards supporting Ukraine’s defense with heavy weapons. Germany previously refused to supply Marder infantry fighting vehicles, with German chancellor Olaf Scholz saying the decision had been made due to its own defense needs and obligations to NATO. Officials also repeatedly said they were concerned with direct deliveries of military aid, saying such moves could lead to Germany’s involvement in the conflict.
The PzH 2000 that Ukraine is bound to receive is a self-propelled 155mm howitzer developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann in partnership with Rheinmetall in the 1990’s for Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, and Italy. It is one of the most advanced self-propelled howitzers in the world capable of providing sustained artillery coverage for more than 50km.