Only five out of 15 Western-supplied PzH 2000 howitzers are still operational in Ukraine, says a German politician
Most German PzH 2000 howitzers that have been supplied to Ukraine by the West have already broken down and are in need of repair, according to German Bundestag member Marcus Faber, who recently visited Ukraine.
In a Wednesday interview with the German news outlet NTV, the politician claimed he was surprised to learn from Ukraine's Ministry of Defense that only five of the 15 German-made PzH 2000 howitzers supplied to Ukraine by Berlin and Amsterdam were still operational. He added that the cause of the failures was not Russian fire, but the fact that the guns were "massively used" by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
While Kiev has yet to officially confirm Faber's statements, it was reported last month by Der Spiegel that Ukraine had informed Germany that a number of PzH 2000 howitzers were malfunctioning after extensive use. According to the outlet, the German Ministry of Defense believed the issues may have resulted from high intensity firing, which may have impacted the artillery round loading mechanism. Der Spiegel said 100 shots a day was considered a "high level of shooting intensity" for the howitzer.
Faber also stated that Kiev had requested more spare parts for the weapons and was "optimistic" that it could bring the howitzers back into working order. He noted that while Germany had already supplied Ukraine with spare parts packages, not all of them were "the right ones."
He pointed out that spare parts were not always enough and that larger repairs required special workshops, meaning the Ukrainians could only carry out minor repairs themselves. According to Faber, Kiev has already requested help in building their own repair facilities in order to avoid having to send the howitzers out of the country for maintenance.
Germany has so far supplied Kiev with ten PzH 2000 howitzers while another five were provided by the Netherlands, who have promised another three.
Meanwhile, German arms manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann struck a deal with the Ukrainian government in late July that would see the firm produce and supply Kiev with some 100 PzH 2000 howitzers, according to a Der Spiegel report. A company spokesperson was quoted as stating that the arms deal was worth $1.72 billion - almost triple the cost of all military aid Berlin has sent to Kiev's forces since Russia launched its military operation in late February.
However, Faber has pointed out that these 100 howitzers will not be delivered to Ukraine before the end of next year and has called on Berlin to send Kiev weapons out of its own reserves, which could then be replenished by Ukrainian order.
Germany has previously supplied Ukrainian forces with thousands of portable anti-tank and anti-air missiles, tens of thousands of anti-tank mines, as well as millions of rounds of ammunition. However, Kiev and even the former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany have still criticized Berlin for what they called reluctance to send military aid to Ukraine and the slow pace of deliveries.
Moscow has repeatedly warned the West against sending weapons to Kiev, saying it only prolongs the conflict and increases the number of casualties.