'We Stand With Ukraine', Norwegian Style, Pt. 1: M109A3 howitzers (155mm) were transported to Ukraine on 6 May 2022, with the Oslo gov't remaining mum about it
Features incl. very heavy guns, a virtual media blackout about the wisdom of doing so, and a veritable, if stupidly hilarious, facepalm by the Socialist Left, which struggles to explain itself
As mentioned briefly in my ‘photo footnote’ last week, I was present at the huge 17 May parade in Bergen, Norway. That event, the first I personally witnessed due to the two-year hiatus, was really quite something: it’s the moment when most Norwegians dress up in traditional costumes and/or something else nicely and goes out celebrating the fact that, at least once a year, ‘we put aside our differences and come together as one people’, as my neighbour put it.
This year’s festivities, then, were quite special for many reasons, including the Russian military operation in Ukraine. While we gathered behind the banner of my daughter’s kindergarten, we had some time to look around and saw this:
Note that I could’t just take pictures of them specifically, but there were many other signs of ‘support’, incl. marching bands wearing Ukrainian flags etc.; the above picture is from a long piece in Bergens Tidende that was published on 17 May 2022, accompanied by the following caption:
‘We march to show our gratitude to Norway’
So, why might Ukraine be thankful to Norway, one may ask? Well, apart from an outpouring of ‘support’—think ‘I stand with Ukraine’ lapel pins and stickers, as well as bespoke paraphernalia that covers virtually every school window one might walk by—the answer as pretty simple as it is obvious: guns and ammunition.
The Kyiv régime even brought ‘one of the world’s largest’ transport aircraft, the Antonov-124, to pick up deliveries of (decommissioned) hardware in Oslo in the first week of May. As reported by Aftenposten (here), the Ukrainian aircraft came over two times, and I’ll bring this up because of the comically naïve bits and pieces contained therein:
The [Norwegian] Military is also silent about the event. Press spokesman Vegard Norstad Finberg says that he cannot confirm whether a Ukrainian plane landed at Gardermoen on Thursday [I can, see here to watch a video of the touchdown of the An-124].
Friday afternoon, the plane was back again. This time, though, it drove into a secluded area of the airport. Aftenposten has been sent photos from showing that the cargo hatches were opened. It was, however, to see what may have been loaded onto the plane [this is Pulitzer Prize-worthy reporting].
To be fair to Aftenposten’s Sigrid Gausen who wrote the piece, she mentions that the An-124 had been ‘employed to military equipment and weapons to NATO forces in Eastern Europe…and weapons to Ukraine, including from Australia’.
Here’s the money paragraph, accompanied by pictorial evidence of the described weapons system (emphasis in the original):
It is unclear whether the visit to Norway is related to arms deliveries, but four hours before the plane landed in Oslo, a driver in Kongsvinger documented that a trailer with one of the Army’s decommissioned M109 self-propelled howitzers drove through the city, in a westerly direction. [The below picture] was taken about 50 km from Gardermoen.
As reported a week earlier (also by Aftenposten), some of the mothballed M109 howitzers went to the shooting range and conducted a fire drill. This resulted in a thumbs-up (as in: the guns still work), with the paper writing that ‘the Norwegian motorised artillery can now be sent to Ukraine, but no one wants to confirm yet if that is where they are going’.
Well, we know the answer now, don’t we?
By the way, lest you wonder about the artillery system, well, you may always go to the Ministry of Truth website and learn that Norway has (had) 14 M109A3GNM in active service as well as 42 M109A3GN ‘in storage’. Note that this type of self-propelled howitzer has been in Norwegian service since 1969, with ‘only’ the more recent versions (M109A7 dating from the 21st century).
I’d surmise that ‘Norway’—i.e., the left-of-centre government led by Jonas Gahr Støre (Labour)—gave some of the mothballed pieces to ‘Ukraine’, i.e., the Kyiv-based régime of Volodomyr Zelensky. We don’t know how many of these pieces, though, we may come up with an educated guess based on two numbers: the An-124 can carry a payload of up to 150 tons while the M109A3 howitzers weight about 30 tons apiece.
It’s reasonable to estimate that ‘Norway’ donated max. three or four of its mothballed M109 howitzers to the Kyiv régime, with the rest of the aircraft’s payload consisting of ammunition, spare parts, and the like.
This was certainly not the last delivery of weapons to Ukraine that came via Norway. As explained by PM Støre four weeks ago, Olso had committed itself to delivering 400m Norwegian Crowns (divide by 10 to get to the US$ and € values) ‘to Kyiv’, by which is meant ‘a British weapons fund’—‘western’ arms manufacturers.
Don’t be fooled by similarly absurd notions, such as the recent addition of 40 billion (!) US$ ‘for Ukraine’. Most, if not all, of this sum will go to American corporations that make these weapons, such as Raytheon (Secretary of Defense Austin’s former employer), Boeing, and the like.
Yes, in terms of domestic politics, PM Støre may feel some headwinds as one of his coalition, the Socialist Left (SV) party, is also aboard with arms deliveries to the Kyiv régime—but, perhaps for conscientious reasons, twists and turns as ‘offensive’ systems are taboo while ‘defensive’ arms are all-o.k.
Sidenote: if you read Norwegian, or run the piece through machine translation, check out this hilariously moronic piece and see for yourself how the Socialist Left intellectually wets itself. Asked by Aftenposten if it would be, indeed, ‘possible to differentiate between defensive vs. offensive weapon systems in a war’, the SV (presumably) Central Committee responded in the following:
‘Yes, the Military itself uses these definitions, which we have adopted, and which form the basis for our decision. But there’s a slippery slope, which means that we have to consider this anew from delivery to delivery’, according to [Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes, the Socialist Left’s deputy leader] (my emphasis)
And then there is this intellectual gem (which, apparently, didn’t bother Aftenposten):
‘There are two reasons for SV’s concern: the party does not wish to contribute offensive weapons that can be used beyond Ukraine’s borders. In addition, according to Fylkesnes, there is a fear that ‘easily tradable weapons can work for many decades to come, and may become very destabilising in the entire region, as we’ve seen in Syria’. (emphases mine)
So, we’ve learned that guns for Kyiv = good, as long as the Ukrainian Armed Forces don’t use them to shoot across their borders, because Syria.
Somehow, I’m becoming more and more afraid of these people in government as they try their hand at other things, such as the health care system (oh, wait, if only I could recall any problems in the more recent past) or the economy.
Also, do note the problematic assumption that ‘Norway’ = ‘the Norwegian people’, much like the Kyiv régime ≠ the Ukrainian people.
We should perhaps talk more about active citizenship, accountability for the people running government, and making them experience the consequences of their actions.
Please join me tomorrow for the second part of the contortions that masquerade as the ‘politics’ of western support for the Kyiv régime.