Friday, 9 September 2022

Going Dutch Revisited: Dutch Military Aid To Ukraine


By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
The Netherlands was one of the first countries in Europe to pledge meaningful military aid to Ukraine as Russia began the build-up of its military forces along the border with Ukraine. Days after Russia commenced its invasion of the country on the 24th of February 2022, further military aid that included 50 FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS launchers with 200 missiles and 50 Panzerfaust 3 anti-tank weapons along with 400 rockets was quickly announced. Not much later, the Dutch Ministry of Defence declared it would no longer provide details on arms deliveries to Ukraine. [1]
 
Nevertheless, it is certain that the flow of military aid to Ukraine has continued unimpeded, with details of additional weapons shipments that included reconnaissance UAVs and even AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles (AShMs) finding their way to the public sphere on more than one occasion. In April 2022 it was announced by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte that the Netherlands would commence delivering heavy weaponry, including eight PzH 2000 self-propelled guns (SPGs) and an unknown number of YPR-765 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), to Ukraine as well.
 
The YPR-765 APCs subsequently entered service with Ukraine's newly-established mechanised brigades for use in future offensive actions throughout Russian-occupied Ukraine. This use would occur on the 29th of August 2022 when the Ukrainian Army launched an offensive to retake parts of the Kherson Region. The YPR-765 APCs act as the primary means of transportation for Ukrainian soldiers fighting in the region along with BMC Kirpi MRAPs provided by Türkiye. Tasked with the dangerous job of transporting infantry across wide open plains closer to Russian positions, two YPR-765s participating in the offensive are known to have been lost so far. [2]
 

Ukrainian soldiers and Dutch-delivered YPR-765s attempt to advance in the Kherson Region while under Russian artillery fire.

Initiatives by Dutch citizens have also made an important contribution to Ukraine's plight. Zeilen van Vrijheid (Sails of Freedom) is one of the organisations that has been collecting funds for Ukraine, and through their efforts 88 ambulances, two Unimog trucks, one firetruck and up to 2000 bicycles have already been dispatched to Ukraine as of early September 2022. [3] Though largely for the benefit of the civilian population, a number of ambulances have received a military camouflage pattern for use in the evacuation and treatment of wounded Ukrainian soldiers. All of these contribute to Ukraine's ability to keep up its resistance one way or another.
 

One of the ambulances delivered by Zeilen van Vrijheid that received a military camouflage pattern after its arrival in Ukraine.

Depending on the number of YPR-765s transferred to Ukraine, Dutch stocks of excess heavy weaponry have for the most part been depleted. Nonetheless, future aid could consist of Mercedes-Benz 290GD 4x4 SUVs that are soon to be replaced in Dutch Army service. Though unarmoured, this hasn't stopped France from delivering significant quantities of effectively similar Peugeot P4 SUVs to Ukraine as well. [4] Featuring good all-terrain mobility and suitable for being used as either a weapons platform or simply for transport, these vehicles are certainly preferable over the passenger cars too often used as a stopgap alternative. 
 
A case could also be made for the transfer of 155mm FH-70 towed howitzers. Originally acquired as a batch of fifteen in 1990 to help keep Dutch artillerymen current while their M114 howitzers were undergoing upgrading, these guns eventually saw use until 2001, when they were stored and later put up for sale. Already a relatively dated design at that time, no buyer for them was ever found. The FH-70s can fire all European and U.S. 155mm rounds, and small numbers of FH-70s have already been provided to Ukraine by Estonia and Italy (which both still operate the FH-70).
 
The Netherlands could also opt to continue to support Ukraine's military by acquiring armament on Ukraine's behalf, or even through the provision of funding with which Ukraine can procure weapons systems from defence companies in other countries. Whatever future steps will be taken to further strengthen Ukraine's defence capabilities, it is certain that the Netherlands has been determined not to shirk its responsibilities as a NATO member, or as a sovereign country that upholds the right to self-determination.
 

A PzH 2000 SPG in Ukraine.

The following list attempts to keep track of military equipment delivered or pledged to Ukraine by the Netherlands shortly prior to and during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. The entries below are sorted by armament category (with a flag denoting the country of origin), and due to the confidential nature of some arms deliveries they can serve only as a lower bound to the total volume delivered. This list will be updated as further military support is uncovered.
 
(Click on the equipment type or vehicle to get a picture or source link)
 

Anti-Ship Missiles (AShMs)


Self-Propelled Artillery

  • 8 155mm PzH 2000s [April 2022. Training completed in May 2022. Arrived to Ukraine from June 2022 onwards]

Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs)


Reconnaissance UAVs

 

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles

 

Radars


Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS)


Small Arms

 

Ammunition

  • 50 DM72A1 (PzF 3-IT) Rounds For Panzerfaust 3 [March 2022]
  • 200 Stinger Missiles [April 2022]
  • 30.000 Rounds Of 7.62mm And 12.7mm Ammunition [March 2022] (For AX408 and M82 sniper and anti-materiel rifles)


Miscellaneous Equipment

 
[1] Beyond The Call - Dutch Arms Deliveries To Ukraine https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/04/beyond-call-dutch-arms-deliveries-to.html
[2] Attack On Europe: Documenting Ukrainian Equipment Losses During The 2022 Russian Invasion Of Ukraine https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack-on-europe-documenting-ukrainian.html
[3] Zeilen van Vrijheid | Амстердамська ТрО https://twitter.com/zeilen_vrijheid
[4] Arms For Ukraine: French Weapons Deliveries To Kyiv https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/07/arms-for-ukraine-french-weapon.html 
[1] Answering The Call: Heavy Weaponry Supplied To Ukraine https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/04/answering-call-heavy-weaponry-supplied.html

Recommended Articles:
 
Beyond The Call - Dutch Arms Deliveries To Ukraine
Answering The Call: Heavy Weaponry Supplied To Ukraine