Poland, one of the countries that have supported Ukraine steadfastly throughout the Russian invasion, will donate 18 AHS KRAB self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine. The agreement was reportedly signed by Poland and Ukraine last May 31.
Ukraine, which had been experiencing heavy shelling from Russia, has repeatedly pleaded for more long-range rocket systems and artillery to push back the Russian forces, especially with the fighting now getting intensified in eastern Ukraine.
After the news broke out, it was also announced that Ukraine would buy more of these KRAB howitzers from Poland. According to Radio Poland, the Polish Government will sell 60 (some say 54) KRAB self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine, worth some $700,000 (€650 million). The deal is reportedly Poland’s biggest export arms deal in years.
The Polish military has reportedly begun conducting training for some 100 Ukrainian soldiers to use the weapons proficiently.
This comes after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki visited Kyiv last Wednesday. This was confirmed by Polish Government Spokesman Piotr Muller.
“Today, Polish-Ukrainian 🇵🇱🇺🇦 intergovernmental consultations will take place in Kiev. Poland is the first country since Russia’s February invasion to meet the Ukrainian government in this formula.” Muller said in a tweet.
During this visit, the two governments had signed a number of memorandums on cooperation, including further cooperation on defense activities, economic cooperation, supporting Polish companies in the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war, and policies regarding energy, food, and transportation.
“Perhaps these documents will pave the way for a new Polish-Ukrainian treaty that we’ll be discussing in the coming weeks and months,” Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki said.
“I believe that Moscow is increasingly terrified of Polish-Ukrainian relations – of the way they are growing,” he added. The Polish Prime Minister also vowed to Ukraine that it would do everything to convince the European Union to let them have candidate status.
“If it was up to us, Ukraine would enter the EU very quickly,” he said.
SOFREP reported early last March that Ukraine had formally applied to the European Union and asked to be urgently admitted into the organization through a new and special procedure.
“We appeal to the European Union for Ukraine’s immediate accession under a new special procedure. We are grateful to partners for being with us. But our goal is to be with all Europeans and, most importantly, to be equal to. I am confident that it is fair. I am confident have we deserved it. I am confident that all this is possible,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last March.
“Do prove that you are with us. Do prove that you will not let us go. Do prove that you are indeed Europeans, and then life will win over death, and light will win over darkness,” he said to the European Union in a speech.
However, European Union membership is complex and intricate. Thus, it is not expected that Ukraine will be admitted as a member anytime soon. The country needs to satisfy certain conditions such as being a stable democracy, a free-market economy, adopting EU laws, and adopting the Euro. Ukraine needs to prove that it can compete in the EU before being admitted. Despite this, countries such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Poland have all expressed their endorsement for immediate accession.
What Can the KRAB Howitzers Bring To The Table?
The KRAB Howitzer is a uniquely Polish weapon designed by Poland, with several of its main parts being shipped from other places. It’s a 155mm NATO-compatible self-propelled howitzer made with the South Korean K9 Thunder chassis, with a British AS-90M Braveheart turret, equipped with WB Electronics’ Topaz artillery fire control system.
Its 2011 variant uses a Nexter Systems barrel with a UPG chassis. Furthermore, the 2016 batch utilizes the K9 chassis once again but with a Rheinmetall barrel. This makes it a product of Poland, South Korea, and the United Kingdom initially, with input from the French and the Germans.
Ukraine will buy 60 AHS Krab self-propelled howitzers from Poland for EUR 700 mln.
Poland donated 18 Krabs to Ukraine a few days ago.
The 78 Krabs will constitute a major improvement of the capabilities of Ukraine’s artillery forces.
Poland is stepping up.
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) June 1, 2022
As stated earlier, its main armament is a 155mm 52 caliber gun, with an automated loading system capable of firing three rounds in less than 10 seconds. The howitzer is known to have 25 miles (40km) range. It is also equipped with an NBC protection system, an automatic fire impression system, and a laser range-finder. It can carry a total of 40 shells and 48 charges, with 29 rounds in the turret and 11 in the chassis. It is also fitted with a 12.7 mm machine gun and 4 81mm smoke grenade discharger on each side.
Poland has thus far donated an unknown number of T-72 tanks (some reports say 250), 2S1 Goździk self-propelled howitzers, Grad rocket launches, and air-to-air missiles for MiG-29s and Su-27 fighter jets.