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Poland requests German permission to send tanks to Ukraine: deputy PM

24.01.2023 13:00
A Polish deputy prime minister has said that Germany has received an official request from Poland to re-export Leopard 2 tanks to war-torn Ukraine.
German-made Leopard 2 main battle tanks.
German-made Leopard 2 main battle tanks.Bundeswehr-Fotos, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Mariusz Błaszczak made the announcement on Twitter on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The deputy prime minister, who is also Poland’s defence minister, wrote: "The Germans have already received our request for permission to transfer Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine."

Błaszczak added: "I also appeal to the German side to join the coalition of countries supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. This is our common cause, because the security of the whole of Europe is at stake."

Berlin said last week it was willing to act quickly if there was a consensus among allies, the Reuters news agency reported.

On Sunday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Berlin would not stand in Poland's way if Warsaw asked for permission to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

On Monday, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said Germany was not blocking the export of the tanks, according to news outlets.

‘No disunity among NATO allies on tanks for Ukraine’: German defence minister

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said on Tuesday that there was no disunity among NATO allies about providing heavy battle tanks to Ukraine, adding that the German government would “act quickly” if there was a positive decision to do so, Reuters reported.

Speaking alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Berlin, Pistorius told reporters that NATO “must not become a party to the war in Ukraine."

NATO ‘will have a solution soon’ on tanks for Ukraine: Stoltenberg

Meanwhile, NATO’s Stoltenberg said he was confident the Western military alliance would soon find a solution on the supply of battle tanks to Ukraine.

Stoltenberg urged: “At this crucial moment in the war, we need to provide Ukraine with heavier and more advanced systems, and we need to do it faster,” as quoted by the AP news agency.

Stoltenberg added: "I therefore welcome our discussion [with Germany’s Pistorius] today. We discussed the issue of battle tanks. Consultations among allies will continue and I'm confident we will have a solution soon.”

'Decision on German tank deliveries to Ukraine rests with chancellery in Berlin'

Meanwhile, a senior official at the German foreign ministry, Tobias Lindner, said on Tuesday that the decision on whether Germany would send Leopard tanks to Ukraine or allow other countries to do so would be taken "at the chancellery" in Berlin.

"At the end of the day, the decision will obviously be taken at the chancellery, in consensus by the government," Lindner said at a defence conference in Berlin held by the Handelsblatt newspaper, according to the Reuters news agency.

Tanks for Ukraine 

Poland, Finland and other countries have offered to provide German-made Leopard tanks to help Ukraine fight the Russian invasion, officials have told reporters. 

However, these countries need approval from the German government to do so, news outlets have reported. 

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

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Sunday that if Germany did not authorise Leopard 2 tank deliveries to Ukraine, Poland would build a "smaller coalition" of allies, without Germany, to supply Leopards to Kyiv, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

Tuesday is day 335 of Russia’s war against Ukraine. 


Source: PAP, Reuters, Associated Press