Ukrainian officers had sold two French-made CAESAR self-propelled howitzers to Russia, the Donbass Insider reported on July 6.
French lawyer and politician Regis de Castelnau revealed on June 22 that two CAESAR howitzers had fallen into the hands of the Russian military. Back then, Regis said that the Russian military moved the howitzers to Uralvagonzavod plant in Nizhny Tagil, which develops and produces battle tanks, armored vehicles and howitzers, to be studied.
Later, the official Telegram channel of Uralvagonzavod confirmed Regis claims. The channel thanked France and President Emmanuel Macron for the howitzers, saying that they will be “handy”.
According to the Donbass Insider, Ukrainian officers sold the two French-made howitzers to Russia for the low price of $120,000 each. A single CAESAR howitzer costs at least seven million euros. The news blog speculated that the howitzers were sold to an intermediary, most likely an arms dealer, who in turn sold them to Russia.
Manufactured by the partly state-owned arms maker Nexter Systems, the CAESAR is a 155mm 52-caliber howitzer mounted on a six-wheeled truck chassis. The howitzer can fire up to six rounds per minute and has a firing range of around 42 kilometers using ERFB [extended range, full bore] shells, and up to 55 kilometers using rocket assisted shells.
France has supplied at least 12 CAESAR howitzers to Kiev forces since the beginning of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine.
The two howitzers sold to Russia were not the only ones to be lost. According to the credible Telegram channel Rybar, three howitzers were destroyed in air strikes on Kurakhovo, while one other was destroyed on the Kubanski peninsula in the Odessa.
Despite the Russian success in destroying and capturing French-made military equipment supplies to Ukraine, France recently vowed to supply the country with an additional six CAESAR howitzers as well as with a “significant number” of VAB armored personnel carriers.
Like the rest of Kiev’s Western allies, France believes that its military support to Ukraine will drain the Russian military and weaken Russia on the long term.