Poland asks Germany for permission to ship tanks to Ukraine

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Monday it would seek Germany’s permission to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine amid the ongoing war with Russia.

Morawiecki said Poland is building a coalition of countries willing to send leopards to Ukraine, but even without Germany’s approval, Poland will make its own decisions.

“We will ask [Germany] for permission, but that’s a secondary issue,” Morawiecki said. “Even if we don’t get that permission in the end, we will – within this small coalition – even if Germany is not in this coalition, give up our tanks, along with the others in Ukraine.”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told French TV channel LCI on Sunday that Poland has not officially asked for permission to share some of its German-made Leopards.

LEGISLATORS REQUIRE ABRAMS TANKS TO BE SHIPPED TO UKRAINE, WHILE RUSSIA WARNS OF ‘GLOBAL DISASTER’

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Monday his country will ask Germany for permission to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine amid the ongoing war with Russia.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Monday his country will ask Germany for permission to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine amid the ongoing war with Russia.
(AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, file)

“If we were asked, we wouldn’t get in the way,” Baerbock said.

“Exercising pressure makes sense,” Morawiecki said of Baerbock’s comments, her words were a “spark of hope” that Germany could even take part in the coalition.

Morawiecki said Baerbock sent “a different message, one that sheds a glimmer of hope that not only is Germany no longer blocking, but perhaps finally offering heavy, modern equipment to support Ukraine.”

“We are constantly putting pressure on the government in Berlin to make their leopards available,” Morawiecki said at a press conference in Poznan, Westphalia.

According to Morawiecki, Germany has “more than 350 active leopards and about 200 in storage”.

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Morawiecki said Poland is building a coalition of countries willing to send leopards to Ukraine.  Even without Germany's consent, Poland will make its own decisions.

Morawiecki said Poland is building a coalition of countries willing to send leopards to Ukraine. Even without Germany’s consent, Poland will make its own decisions.
(AP)

The Ukrainian government said tanks, particularly the German-made Leopards, are vital in its attempt to hold off Russian forces.

Baerbock suggested Germany might be ready to send tanks to Ukraine, saying German officials “know how important these tanks are” and “that’s why we’re discussing this with our partners now.”

At a meeting at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany on Friday, supporters of Ukraine pledged billions of dollars in military aid.

Germany is one of the top arms donors to Ukraine and ordered a review of its Leopard 2 stocks in preparation for a possible delivery of the tanks. Nevertheless, the German government is reluctant to increase its military aid to Ukraine.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told French TV channel LCI on Sunday that Poland has not officially asked for permission to share some of its German-made Leopards.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told French TV channel LCI on Sunday that Poland has not officially asked for permission to share some of its German-made Leopards.
(AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

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Germany’s reluctance has drawn criticism, particularly from Poland and the Baltic states, countries on NATO’s eastern flank that feel particularly threatened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But Moscow responded to pledges of modern Western weapons to Ukraine by emphasizing warnings that escalation risked catastrophe. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Monday reiterated the Kremlin’s statement that Western support for Ukraine’s supplies could have “unpredictable” consequences.

“We have said on numerous occasions that escalation is the most dangerous path and the consequences can be unpredictable,” Ryabkov said. “Our signals are not being heard and Russia’s opponents continue to up the ante.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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