Poland requests German approval for Leopard delivery

Warsaw Poland has asked the German government for approval for the delivery of German-made Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine. “I also appeal to the German side to join the coalition of countries supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks,” Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. It’s about the security of all of Europe. According to dpa information, the Polish application from the federal government was already available on Tuesday.

The Kremlin immediately warned of a further deterioration in German-Russian relations should the German government have Leopard main battle tanks delivered to Ukraine. “Such deliveries do not bode well for the future of relations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. They would leave inevitable traces. The relationship is already at a certain low point.

Poland has been putting pressure on its allies for a long time in the discussion about supplying main battle tanks. The week before last, President Andrzej Duda said that Warsaw had decided to hand over 14 Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on Monday that Warsaw would ask the federal government for approval. In order to supply German-made tanks to other countries, permission from Berlin is required.

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The application from Warsaw is now putting the federal government under pressure to act. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has been under international criticism for weeks because of his reluctance to deliver main battle tanks to Ukraine, and there was also resentment in his own coalition. The government justifies its action, among other things, with the weighing of escalation risks and the necessary international coordination. Ukraine has been asking for battle tank deliveries for months to resist the Russian attack.

Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) said on Tuesday that he expected Germany to make a quick decision on Leopard deliveries. “I expect that a decision will be made shortly,” he said at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

>> Read here: Why Scholz hesitates on the tank question

In an ongoing inventory, questions such as supplies, maintenance, repair and supply of the weapon systems would be examined in a possible deployment. “We are preparing for all of that now. And in the event of a positive decision, we will be able to act very quickly,” said Pistorius.

He encouraged partner countries that have operational Leopard tanks to start training Ukrainian forces on these tanks. Pistorius said: “Where it’s possible and wanted, there’s no question at all, we don’t get in the way. Of course, we can only do that ourselves once our decision on how to deal with the Leopard tanks has been made.”

Germany is in the top group when it comes to military support for Ukraine. “That’s going down at the moment in view of the discussion about tank deliveries and tank deployments,” said Pistorius. In total, Germany has already spent more than 3.3 billion euros. The minister said: “Only the UK is moving away from the US by roughly the same magnitude.”

Jens Stoltenberg and Boris Pistorius

At a meeting with the German Defense Minister, the NATO Secretary General acknowledged Germany’s previous assistance to Ukraine.

(Photo: dpa)

At the meeting, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg called for new weapons to be delivered to Ukraine quickly. “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,” the Norwegian said. “The only way to a lasting peace is to make it clear to Putin that he will not win on the battlefield.”

Ukrainian forces must be able to push back the Russians, Stoltenberg said. “Not just to survive, but to win, to reclaim territory and to exist as a sovereign, independent state in Europe.”

Regarding the question of whether the NATO allies will supply main battle tanks to Ukraine, Stoltenberg said talks are ongoing. He is confident that there will be a solution soon. At the same time, Stoltenberg acknowledged the help that Germany had given Ukraine so far.

The Russian leadership has repeatedly criticized western arms deliveries to Ukraine as an escalation. In the past week, however, the spokesman for Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin also said that even Western battle tanks could not prevent Russia from achieving its war goals. In his view, they would only prolong the suffering of civilians.

More: The Chancellor’s speechlessness over the arms deliveries is fatal – one comment

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