Poland will ask Germany for permission to send to Ukraine the Leopard tanks that Zelensky requests to face Russian troops

A Polish Leopard 2PL tank fires during the Defender Europe 2022 military exercise of NATO troops (Reuters) (KACPER PEMPEL /)

Poland will ask permission to Germany to send Leopard tanks to UkrainePolish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared Monday to fulfill Ukraine’s main request to the West on the front lines.

Morawiecki did not specify when the request will be made. He said that Poland is forming a coalition of nations willing to send Leopard.

Even if there is no permission from Germany, Warsaw will make its own decisions, he said, without elaborating.

“We will ask (Germany) for permission, but it is a secondary issue,” Morawiecki said. “Even if, in the end, we don’t get this permission, we – within this small coalition – even if Germany is not in this coalition, we will hand over our tankstogether with the others, to Ukraine”.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told the French television channel on Sunday ICL Poland has not formally asked for Berlin’s approval to share some of its German-built Leopards, but added that “if they asked us, we wouldn’t get in the way”.

Regarding Baerbock’s comments, Morawiecki said that “putting pressure makes sense” and that his words open the door for Germany to even participate in the coalition. As he stated, Baerbock “sent a different message that offers a spark of hope that Germany will not only stop the blockade, but perhaps finally offer modern heavy equipment in support of Ukraine”.

“We put constant pressure on the Berlin government to make its Leopards available,” Morawiecki told a news conference in the western city of Poznan. According to Morawiecki, Germany has “more than 350 active Leopards and about 200 in storage.”

FILE - A Leopard 2 tank is pictured during a demonstration event held for the media by the German Bundeswehr in Munster near Hannover, Germany, Wednesday, Sept.  28, 2011. Germany faces mounting pressure to supply battle tanks to Kyiv and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is airing frustration about not obtaining enough weaponry as Western allies confer on how best to support Ukraine nearly 11 months into Russia's invasion.  Germany's new defense minister welcomed US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Berlin, declaring that German weapons systems delivered so far have proven their worth and that aid will continue in the future.  (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)
Leopard 2 tank in a demonstration in Germany (AP) (Michael Sohn /)

The Ukrainian government claims that the tanks, and especially the German-made Leopards, are vital if he is to prevail against the invading Kremlin forces.

Baerbock made positive comments about the possibility of sending tanks to Ukraine. German authorities “know how important these tanks are” and “that is why we are discussing it now with our partners,” Baerbock said in an interview published by LCI.

For his part, Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Arkadiusz Mularczyk, warned that Germany will be completely isolated if it does not cede and hand over the tanks, according to the station. Polish Radio. “We have to understand that Germany, without giving consent to supply these tanks to Ukraine, falls into isolation. If they continue to stick to this stance, then it’s going to become an extremely weak stance,” he said.

Ukraine supporters pledged billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine during a meeting at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday. International defense leaders debated Ukraine’s urgent request for Leopard 2 tanks, with the failure to reach an agreement overshadowing the new commitments.

Germany is one of the main arms donors to Ukraine, and has ordered a review of its Leopard 2 stocks in preparation for a possible green light. Nevertheless, the Berlin government has been cautious at every step it has taken to increase its military aid to Ukraine, an indecision seen as rooted in its history and political culture.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addresses soldiers in front of a Leopard 2 tank after military exercises in Ostenholz (DPA via AP)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addresses soldiers in front of a Leopard 2 tank after military exercises in Ostenholz (DPA via AP) (Moritz Frankenberg/)

Germany’s reluctance has drawn criticism, especially from Poland and the Baltics, countries on NATO’s eastern flank that feel especially threatened by renewed Russian aggression.

Moscow, in response to promises of sophisticated Western weapons for kyiv’s army, has intensified its warnings that an escalation risks catastrophe.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Monday reaffirmed Moscow’s claim that Western supplies could have “unpredictable” consequences.

“We have said on numerous occasions that climbing is the most dangerous path, and the consequences can be unpredictable,” Ryabkov said. “Our signals go unheeded, and Russia’s adversaries keep upping the ante.”

With the positions of both sides on the battlefield virtually stalemate during the winter months, Kremlin forces have kept up their bombing raids on Ukrainian areas.

Kharkiv Governor Oleh Synyehubov said on Monday that Russian forces shelled several cities and towns in the northeastern region in the past 24 hours, killing a 67-year-old woman and wounding another resident.

(With information from AP)

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