Conflicts & War

Poland to request permission to send tanks to Ukraine

Krakow, Poland, Jan 23 (EFE).- Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Monday that his country would be requesting permission to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine “soon.”

Morawiecki told Polish reporters that “if we do not obtain this consent, we will deliver our tanks together with other countries to Ukraine.”

The Polish premier has said that if Germany does not approve the deployment of the battle tanks to Ukraine, Warsaw would back the creation of a smaller alliance of countries that would be willing to send tanks and other heavy weapons to Kyiv, according to Poland’s state-backed news agency PAP.

“We are constantly exerting pressure on the government in Berlin to make its Leopards available,” Morawiecki told reporters.

The Polish premier added that Germany has “more than 350 active Leopards and about 200 in storage.”

Poland last week announced it wanted to send its battle tanks to Ukraine but because they are German-made, the move requires authorization from Berlin to export them to other countries.

On Sunday, Germany’s foreign minister Anna Baerbock said her country “would not stand in the way” of Poland if they were to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

The European Union’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell told reporters on Monday that he believed “these kinds of arms should be provided to the Ukrainian army” but that each member state had its own views on the matter “and we are here to discuss it.”

“Do not dismiss the result of Ramstein, a lot of good decisions have been taken. And then each Member State decides at the national level what they want to do. But Germany has engaged a lot with a big amount of resources,” Borrell said as he arrived for the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council.

On Friday, Western allies gathered for the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting at the Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany to coordinate the deployment of military aid to Ukraine.

Despite growing pressure, Germany did not give its approval for the transfer of the Leopard 2 battle tanks Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy has been calling for.

Borrell added that he hoped that ministers would reach a consensus on Monday to extend military aid to Ukraine within a new tranche of the European Peace Facility (EPF) worth 3.1 billion euros.

The ministers will address the situation with their Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, who will join the meeting via video link.

Irish foreign minister Micheál Martin said that “Germany has been a very strong supporter of Ukraine and continues to be one of the most significant supporters of Ukraine, along with the United States, UK, France and others, and I think this needs to be acknowledged.”

Martin added that he thought these issues would be “resolved in due course” and that Germany was working with other governments and that there was a lot of engagement taking place.

Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto said that it was “important that Ukraine gets that material that it needs,” and added that Helsinki was mulling sending tanks as well as providing training for their use. EFE


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