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Germany 'would not stand in the way' if Poland decided to send tanks to Ukraine: FM

23.01.2023 00:05
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Sunday her country would not stand in the way if Poland decided to send Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine to support its neighbour's defence efforts against Russia's invasion, news agencies reported.
Annalena Baerbock

Ukraine has appealed to Western allies to provide modern tanks, but the government in Berlin has so far held back from sending them, or allowing other NATO countries to supply Kyiv with German-made tanks, the Reuters news agency reported.

Earlier this month, Polish President Andrzej Duda pleged that Poland would send a company of German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters last week that "for Poland to be able to re-export Leopard tanks to Ukraine, Germany, as the producer, must give its consent."

Asked what would happen if Poland sent its Leopard 2 tanks without Germany's approval, Baerbock said on Sunday, as quoted by Reuters: "For the moment the question has not been asked, but if we were asked we would not stand in the way."

Meanwhile, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius told the media on Sunday that he expected a decision soon on the delivery of tanks to Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Speaking in an interview with German broadcaster ARD TV, Pistorius said his government would not make a hasty decision because it had many factors to consider, including consequences at home for the security of the German population, according to Reuters.

Polish defence minister 'hopeful' for deal on Leopard tanks for Ukraine

Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said last week he was hopeful that Ukraine’s allies would eventually resolve their differences and agree to send German-made Leopard tanks to help Kyiv repel Russian forces.

He was speaking after defence leaders from around 50 countries met at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday to discuss more weapons deliveries to Ukraine, but made no decision on whether Leopard tanks can be sent to the war-torn country, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The Polish defence minister told reporters that, even though the meeting ended without a decision, he was "hopeful" that Leopard 2 tanks would finally make their way to Ukraine.

'We'll do the right thing': Polish PM

The Polish prime minister said last week that consent from Germany for the transfer of Leopard tanks to Ukraine was “of secondary importance.”

He added, as quoted by the PAP news agency: “We will either obtain this consent quickly or we’ll do the right thing ourselves."

Poland's Morawiecki was cited as saying last Thursday that he was "moderately sceptical" of Germany authorising the tanks for Ukraine because "the Germans are defending themselves against this like the devil protects himself against holy water."

Monday is day 334 of Russia’s war against Ukraine. 


Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters

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