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Poland to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine: president

11.01.2023 16:30
The Polish president has pledged that his country will send a company of German-made Leopard tanks to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia.
Polands President Andrzej Duda (right), Ukraines Volodymyr Zelensky (centre) and Lithuanias Gitanas Nausda (left) meet in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Wednesday, January 11, 2023.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda (right), Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky (centre) and Lithuania's Gitanas Nausėda (left) meet in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Wednesday, January 11, 2023. KPRP/Jakub Szymczuk

Andrzej Duda made the announcement in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Wednesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The Polish president travelled to Lviv for talks with Ukraine’s head of state Volodymyr Zelensky and Lithuania’s Gitanas Nausėda, in the trilateral format known as the Lublin Triangle, officials said.

Their discussions focused on further assistance to Ukraine as it battles the Russian invasion, as well as support for Kyiv’s aspirations to join Western institutions, reporters were told. 

The three leaders also signed a joint declaration in which they reaffirmed Ukraine’s inalienable right to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and stressed their willingness to work together in the postwar reconstruction of Ukraine, according to officials.

The declaration also mentioned Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania’s shared political heritage dating back centuries, and the upcoming 160th anniversary of Poland's 1863 January Uprising against Russia, officials said. 

Poland to provide 'a company of Leopard tanks' to Ukraine 

At a news conference afterwards, the Polish president said: “A company of Leopard tanks will be delivered to Ukraine as part of efforts to build a coalition, because as you know, several formalities and approvals must be secured, but above all we want this to be an international coalition.”

Duda added: “And Poland has decided to contribute the first batch of tanks, a company of tanks to this international coalition.”

The Polish president went on to say: “Hopefully this company of tanks, along with other companies of tanks, Leopards and others, that will be donated by other countries, will soon make its way to Ukraine to help strengthen Ukraine’s defences. In Poland we have already made such a decision.”

In the Polish army, a tank company consists of 14 tanks, the Ukrinform news agency reported.

Duda also told reporters: “In the 21st century, Ukraine, an independent and sovereign European country, is being brutally attacked to deprive its people of freedom. This aggression must be stopped.”

The Polish president said that stopping the war in Ukraine was “one of the biggest challenges for the entire free world.”   

Meanwhile, Lithuania's Nausėda said his country would provide Ukraine with air defence and anti-aircraft systems, the Nexta news outlet reported.

Ukraine’s Zelensky thanked Poland and Lithuania for their military support, for welcoming Ukrainian refugees and for their "readiness to stand by our side until victory is won.”

“The Ukrainian people will remember this assistance for many years to come,” Zelensky said, as quoted by the PAP news agency.

Wednesday was day 322 of Russia’s war against Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, prezydent.pl, ukrinform.net, president.gov.ua

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Agnieszka Bielawska.