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PM says Poland will ask Germany to allow transfer of Leopard tanks to Ukraine

23.01.2023 12:30
The Polish prime minister has said his country will ask Berlin for permission to send German-made Leopard tanks to help Ukraine repel Russia's invasion.
Polands Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks to reporters in the western city of Poznań on Monday, January 23, 2023.
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks to reporters in the western city of Poznań on Monday, January 23, 2023.PAP/Marek Zakrzewski

Mateusz Morawiecki made the statement at a news conference on Monday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Speaking to the media at the Hipolit Cegielski train factory in the western Polish city of Poznań, he was asked if Poland would apply to Germany for permission to deliver Leopard tanks to Ukraine. 

'We’ll transfer the tanks to Ukraine anyway': PM

Morawiecki said: “We’ll ask for such permission, but this is, in fact, of secondary importance.”

He added: “Even if we don’t eventually get this permission, we’ll transfer the tanks to Ukraine anyway, together with others, in a smaller coalition, if Germany does not join the coalition.”

Morawiecki told reporters: “At this point, we believe it’s necessary to create at least such a small coalition of countries. With this in mind, together with President Andrzej Duda and Deputy Prime Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, we are contacting our partners in Western Europe.”

Morawiecki also said that Poland was in talks with countries that “have different, but very advanced tanks,” such as Britain. 

According to the Polish prime minister, the supply of tanks to Ukraine "will make sense provided their number is sufficient to equip a large Ukrainian combat unit,” the PAP news agency reported.

Morawiecki said: “These talks are not easy, but we’ll be overcoming the barrier of reluctance in various countries.”   

Poland, Finland and several other countries are ready to provide German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine but they need approval from the German government, news outlets reported. 

During a meeting of Ukraine’s allies at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday, Berlin avoided committing to the transfer of Leopards to Kyiv, according to officials. 

Germany won’t 'stand in the way’ of Poland sending tanks to Ukraine: FM

Morawiecki’s declaration on Monday came after Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Sunday stated 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, according to news reports. 

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

Poland ‘putting pressure’ on Germany to transfer its own tanks to Ukraine

Poland’s Morawiecki said on Monday that Warsaw was also "putting pressure on the government in Berlin to make available its own Leopard tanks.”

He told reporters that Germany had more than 350 Leopards in active use, with a further 200 kept in warehouses. 

The Polish prime minister argued that "given its vast amount of tanks," Germany could “provide real help” to Ukraine.

He added that Ukraine’s struggle against Russia “is also a struggle for security and peace in all of Europe.”

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


Source: IAR, PAP, wpolityce.pl