Poland will seek German permission Monday to send Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine as part of a broader coalition of support, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has confirmed.
The Polish premier Morawiecki didn’t specify when the request will be made but added even if it is not forthcoming Warsaw will make its own decisions, he said, without elaborating further.
“We will ask (Germany) for permission, but this is a secondary theme,” Morawiecki said. “Even if, eventually, we do not get this permission, we — within this small coalition — even if Germany is not in this coalition, we will hand over our tanks, together with the others, to Ukraine.”
Poland has previously announced it is ready to deliver 14 Leopard tanks to Kyiv but Morawiecki said he was waiting for “a clear statement” from Berlin whether countries that have the Leopards can transfer them to Ukraine, as Breitbart News reported.
The German Leopard tank used by Polish army and the AHS Krab, a 155 mm NATO-compatible self-propelled tracked gun-howitzer, are seen at the training ground in Nowa Deba on September 21, 2022, in Nowa Deba, Subcarpathian Voivodeship, Poland. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
AP reports German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told French television channel LCI on Sunday that Poland hasn’t formally asked for Berlin’s approval to share some of its German-made Leopards, but added “if we were asked, we would not stand in the way.”
Regarding Baerbock’s comments, Morawiecki said “exerting pressure makes sense” and her words are a “spark of hope” that Germany may even take part in the coalition.
Baerbock “sent a different message that offers a spark of hope that not only Germany will no longer block, but maybe finally will offer heavy, modern equipment in support of Ukraine,” Morawiecki said.
“We are constantly exerting pressure on the government in Berlin 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.”