Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Monday that they will seek Germany’s permission to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine amid its ongoing war with Russia.
Morawiecki said Poland is building a coalition of countries ready to send leopards to Ukraine, but even without Germany’s approval, he said, Poland will make its own decisions.
“We’ll ask [Germany] To obtain permission, but this is a secondary issue, “said Morawiecki.” Even if, in the end, we do not get this permission, we, within this small coalition, even if Germany is not in this coalition, will deliver our tanks, along with others, to Ukraine.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told French TV channel LCI on Sunday that Poland has not formally requested approval to share some of its German-made Leopards.
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“If they asked us, we wouldn’t get in the way,” Baerbock said.
In response to Baerbock’s comments, Morawiecki said that “pressure makes sense” and that his words are a “spark of hope” that Germany might even participate in the coalition.
Morawiecki said Baerbock “sent a different message that offers a glimmer of hope that not only will Germany no longer block, but perhaps finally provide heavy, modern equipment in support of Ukraine.”
“We are constantly pressuring the Berlin government to make its Leopards available,” Morawiecki told a news conference in the western city of Poznan.
Germany has “more than 350 active leopards and about 200 in storage,” according to Morawiecki.
The United States hosts allied defense officials, while Russia plans a massive offensive in the coming weeks
The Ukrainian government has said the tanks, especially the German-made Leopards, are crucial in its bid to defend itself against Russian forces.
Baerbock suggested Germany might be open to sending tanks to Ukraine, saying German officials “know the importance of these tanks” and “that’s why we are discussing this now with our partners.”
During a meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday, supporters of Ukraine pledged to send billions of dollars in military aid.
Germany is a major arms donor to Ukraine and ordered a review of its Leopard 2 stocks in preparation for the potential shipment of the tanks. Still, the German government has been cautious about increasing its military aid to Ukraine.
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Germany’s hesitation has drawn criticism, particularly from Poland and the Baltic states, countries on NATO’s eastern flank, which feel particularly threatened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But Moscow responded to promises of sophisticated Western weapons for Ukraine by underlining its warnings that escalation carries the risk of catastrophe. The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov, has this Monday reaffirmed the Kremlin’s statement that the West’s support for Ukraine with supplies could have “unpredictable” consequences.
“We have said on numerous occasions that climbing is the most dangerous path and that the consequences can be unpredictable,” Ryabkov said. “Our signals are not being heard and Russia’s adversaries continue to up the ante.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.