The German tabloid newspaper Bild has not reported that Russian forces captured a German PzH 2000 Howitzer, transferred to Ukraine as part of German military assistance. Journalists from the German daily newspaper Welt were unable to find any confirmation of this claim. Russian media have not provided any evidence to support these allegations.
In an attempt to discredit the idea of military assistance to Ukraine, citing the German publication Bild, Russian media have been disseminating claims that Russian Armed Forces have taken possession of a Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000 howitzer, which Germany had previously transferred to Ukraine as military assistance. According to Russian reports, the howitzer was allegedly damaged by a captured German grenade launcher, which Ukraine also received from Germany. Gazeta.ru, EurAsia Daily, Life, Izvestia, Argumenty I Fakty, and others all featured this fake story.
Russian media all cite the Bild newspaper, which seemingly first published a story about the loss of the Pzh 2000. Gazeta.ru for example, writes that Bild called the German PzH howitzer one of the most “expensive and technologically advanced” pieces of artillery in the world. EurAsia daily writes that the capture was made possible with the help of a German grenade launcher, which Germany also provided for the Ukrainian army. And the propagandist Life.ru writes that according to Bild, Russians are already taking the howitzer apart to study it.
However, the hyperlink that Russian publications provide which should lead to the Bild story, simply redirects readers to the Bild main page.
StopFake scoured the Bild web site searching for this alleged article. There is no such story on the Bild website about a captured PzH 2000, searches using “Panzerhaubitze 2000” also did not yield any results.
In its most recent publication s about the PzH 2000, Bild reports that German self-propelled howitzers are already being used in battles in the Donbas, and also features an interview with a trained artilleryman and the first photos and videos of the PzH 2000 in action against Russian troops.
Neither the German Ministry of Defense, nor the Ukrainian Armed Forces have reported the capture or loss of any of the PzH 2000 guns delivered to Ukraine. The Ukrainian government announced the howitzer delivery on June 21. To date, Ukraine’s Armed Forces have received seven Panzerhaubitze 2000 units from Germany and five from the Netherlands.
German media also noted the Russian claims about the alleged capture of a PzH 2000 by Russian troops. Christoph Wanner, a journalist with the German national daily Welt newspaper said that he could not find any confirmation of these reports. Moreover, he suspects that the reports that the PzH 2000 was allegedly hit by a captured German grenade launcher is nothing more than a disinformation.
“That appears to be fake news. We tried again to check these reports from gazeta.ru, and it seems that this is not true. This disinformation is an important part of the hybrid war to confuse opponents, to demoralize with a fictitious event, and it seems to have happened now,” Wanner said on Welt Nachrichten TV.
StopFake also spoke with a Ukrainian serviceman from the front, who asked not to be identified, about the possibility of such a capture. He said it was extremely unlikely.
“To understand that this is impossible, it is enough to look at the nature of the hostilities during these last weeks of the war. The front line is moving very slowly. On some days the front moves several kilometers in different directions, but more often it almost stands still for several days. Long-range artillery is always located at a considerable distance from the first line. This can be 10-20 or more kilometers, which significantly exceeds the firing range of any grenade launcher and any anti-tank systems in service with the Russian army and the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Even allowing for minor shifts, the Russian troops on the front line would not be able to reach the firing range. PzH 2000 howitzers are very mobile, they always occupy positions much further than an enemy grenade launcher can reach them,” the serviceman said.
The publication Defense Express, which specializes in defense policy and national security issues, also noted this latest bit of Russian disinformation, pointing out that, as in the case of the allegedly captured French Caesar howitzers, the Russian side did not provide any photo or video evidence that this PzH2000 really ended up in the hands of their military.
Earlier, StopFake debunked the Kremlin’s disinformation that the Russian military allegedly captured two French Caesar self-propelled artillery mounts, which were recently transferred to Ukraine as military aid.