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On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Denmark's Handover of Entire Stock of CAESAR Guns to Kiev 'Really Hurts' Defense, Gov't Advisor Says

© Photo : WikipediaCAESAR self-propelled artillery system. File photo.
CAESAR self-propelled artillery system. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.01.2023
Denmark has punched well above its weight in providing military support to Kiev in recent months, sending nearly $600 million in arms, and training Ukrainian servicemen since 2016. Copenhagen has long shown a tolerance for participation in unpopular modern conflicts, taking part in the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s.
The decision to send Denmark’s entire inventory of CAESAR self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine will undermine the Nordic Nation’s defenses, and rob it of a system specifically designed to suit Denmark’s defense needs, a leading Danish defense expert and government advisor has complained.
“There’s really something at stake, because now we’re not talking about things laying around in a spare parts warehouse, or constituting previous generation equipment, or other things that our [military] doesn’t really use,” Kristian Søby Kristensen, a senior researcher at the University of Copenhagen’s Center for Military Studies, told local media.
“Now we’re talking about systems that go to the core of Denmark’s defense,” the expert stressed.
Kristensen, a leading Danish defense commentator who has served on nearly half a dozen government working groups on defense matters, fears Copenhagen’s decision to send its CAESARs to Ukraine will “really hurt” the country’s defense capabilities, with the howitzers serving as an important component in the rebuilding of the Danish military.
Copenhagen announced plans to transfer all 19 of its French-made CAESAR 8x8 self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine on Thursday.
“This is a very large and significant donation. We have been in continuous contact with the Ukrainians about Caesar artillery in particular and I am happy that we have received broad support from parliament to donate the systems to Ukraine’s freedom struggle,” Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said in a government press release.
The minister emphasized that Copenhagen had “been among the most active donor countries” of weapons to Kiev since the start of the crisis, and stressed that this “must continue” into the future. “At the same time, we must find a balance between helping Ukraine and continuing to strengthen Danish defenses so that we can safeguard our security and live up to our obligations in NATO,” Ellemann-Jensen added.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted his “deep gratitude” to Copenhagen over the promises CAESARs, emphasizing that the howitzers will “greatly increase Ukraine’s defense capabilities, allow us to oust the aggressor from Ukraine and bring our common victory closer.”
So far, however, Kiev’s forces have used the existing CAESARs they’ve received from France to launch seemingly random terror strikes into Donbass cities and settlements, including the city of Donetsk, killing and maiming dozens of civilians in the process.
Paris has delivered at least 24 of its 76 CAESARs to Ukraine, along with tens of thousands of shells, including controversial 155 BONUS cluster munitions.
Developed in the 1990s and fielded starting in the late 2000s, the CAESAR is a 155mm NATO standard rapid-fire shoot and scoot platform with the capability to fire heavy artillery rounds up to 55 km. Denmark purchased its CAESARs in 2017, receiving 15 in 2021, and planning to take delivery of the remaining four later this year. Along with France, Denmark and Ukraine, the system is operated by Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand. French forces used the system during the NATO occupation of Afghanistan, and in French deployments in Mali, Iraq and Syria.
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The Russian military has reported on the destruction of multiple CAESARs over recent months, with the MoD announcing Thursday that three had been knocked out in heavy fighting in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
The Danish government has confirmed that the delivery of its CAESARs to Ukraine would mean a delay in the formation a 4,000-troop strong elite heavy infantry brigade, known as the 1st Brigade, but promised that work was already underway to find a replacement for the French-made howitzers.
This won’t be easy, Kristensen fears. “There was a reason our military chose to buy these French guns. It is a product tailored to the needs of the Danish military. They can probably find some different guns, but the problem is that the entire planet is out ordering military equipment, which means pressure on production. It’s not like you can just find 19 alternative guns,” the observer said.
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