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Russia Bolsters Northern Border With New Howitzers Ahead of Finland's NATO Move

Published December 28, 2023
7 months ago

In a development that is being closely monitored by international security experts and regional neighbors, Russia announced the deployment of its latest Coalition-SV howitzers to its northern military district, an area sharing borders with Finland and Norway. This news comes at a time when regional tensions are heightened due to Finland's prospective NATO accession and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.


Sergei Chemezov, the CEO of Rostec, Russia's state defense conglomerate, confirmed the completion of testing for the new artillery pieces, with mass production now underway. Expectations are that the first batch of these self-propelled guns will be delivered by the end of 2023. According to Chemezov's interview with RIA, the state news agency, this deployment is strategically motivated to establish superiority over Western artillery models, thanks to its extended firing range.


The Coalition-SV is a cutting-edge piece of military hardware, boasting a 152mm 2A88 cannon. It's capable of firing more than 10 rounds per minute and has a range reaching up to 70 kilometers. The howitzers come equipped with advanced systems for automating targeting, gun-pointing, and navigation, vastly increasing their efficiency on the battlefield.


The strategic positioning of these howitzers is significant, considering Russian President Vladimir Putin elevated the Russian northern fleet — historically focused on the Arctic — to a formal northern military district. This district now includes the Murmansk region, a border area it shares with Finland and Norway.


The timing of this deployment is noteworthy, reflecting a broader response to Finland's pending NATO membership. Since invading Ukraine in February 2022, Russia has persistently accused Western countries of engaging in a proxy war, and this new military buildup could be seen as a direct response to NATO's expansion towards Russian borders.


Earlier reports by Tass, the Russian state news agency, mentioned the single Coalition-SV howitzer units have already made their way to the frontlines in Ukraine, underscoring their role in Russia’s current military operations.


This advancement in Russia's military capabilities near NATO's doorstep is likely to prompt serious discussion both in Helsinki and among NATO members, with military analysts examining the implications for regional stability. The development also sends a clear signal of Russia's readiness to match and surpass Western artillery capabilities in the strategically critical high North, an area that has increasingly become a focal point of international security concerns.



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