Norway has donated 22 M109 tracked self-propelled howitzers, plus gear, spare parts and ammunition for the long-range weapons to the Ukrainian armed forces, the country’s ministry of defense announced Wednesday.
Norway has also trained Ukrainian soldiers in Germany on how to use the M109s, according to a defense ministry statement.
“The development in the war in Ukraine now suggests that it is necessary to also donate heavier artillery and weapons’ systems,” Norway’s Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram said in the statement.
Kyiv has repeatedly called for donations of heavier weapons to help it fend off Russia’s invasion.
A Ukrainian official told POLITICO on Tuesday that “what we’re lacking is long-range missiles … We need howitzer guns.” He added that while the U.S., U.K. and Australia had sent just over 100 howitzers, Ukraine needed another 700 to fight Russian forces.
“In terms of weapons and ammunition and rounds Russians are using, it’s six to one,” the Ukrainian official said. “For every six shells fired at us, there’s only one shell going back. The Russians are dominating in terms of the amount of weapons they’re able to deploy against Ukrainians.”
The howitzers and other gear have already left Norway, the country’s defense ministry said, adding that Oslo may not publicize further donations in the future.
The Norwegian Army recently replaced its fleet of howitzers with new artillery, but kept its M109s in storage, the defense ministry said. It is from that supply that the 22 donated M109s were sourced.