Seven German self-propelled Howitzer 2000s arrived in Ukraine on Tuesday, marking the first delivery of German heavy weapons to the country since the Russian invasion began nearly four months ago.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov thanked his German counterpart Christine Lambrecht on Twitter for the arrival of the weapons, while Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk also expressed his gratitude.

Melnyk has said that kyiv hoped that “this was only the first important step in strengthening the defense capabilities of the Ukrainian Army”, and has asked the German government to continue making new deliveries.

“The German defense industry is ready to produce 100 new self-propelled howitzers for Ukraine in the short term.

We hope that Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the German Security Council will approve the corresponding request,” Melnyk said.

The ‘Howitzer 2000’ is the most modern artillery piece in the Bundeswehr. It resembles a huge tank and can hit targets at a distance of 40 kilometers.

For his part, Reznikov has described the handover as “an example of international cooperation in support of Ukraine,” adding that he appreciates the efforts of the German and Dutch defense ministers.

The German government has come under fire in recent weeks, initially for hesitating to commit to heavy weaponry and later for its alleged slowness in handing over the weapons.

Berlin insisted that this was due to necessary changes in defense industry protocols and the need to ensure that Ukrainian soldiers were properly trained to use the weapons in question.