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German minister: Berlin won't oppose delivery of Polish Leopard tanks to Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 23, 2023 12:16 AM 2 min read
A Leopard 2 tank (Wikimedia).
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German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Jan. 22 that Berlin will not oppose Poland's decision to supply German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

"For the moment the question has not been asked, but if we were asked we would not stand in the way," she told LCI, a French TV channel. "We know how important these tanks are and this is why we are discussing this now with our partners. We need to make sure people's lives are saved and Ukraine's territory liberated."

If Germany does not authorize Leopard 2 tank supplies to Ukraine, Poland will create a coalition of allies without Germany to supply Leopards to Kyiv anyway, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the Polish Press Agency on Jan. 22.

“We will not passively watch Ukraine bleed to death,” Morawiecki said.

He lambasted Germany's reluctance to authorize the deliveries of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

"Germany's attitude is unacceptable. It has been almost a year since the war began. Innocent people are dying every day," Morawiecki said. "Russian bombs are wreaking havoc in Ukrainian cities. Civilian targets are being attacked, women and children are being murdered."

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Jan. 22 that he expected a decision soon on the delivery of Leopard tanks.

Pistorius told Germany's ARD television that Berlin would not make a hasty decision because there were many factors to consider, including security issues.

At the Jan. 20 Ramstein meeting, Ukraine's allies failed to reach an agreement on supplying Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine due to Germany's reluctance to approve tank deliveries.

Poland, Finland and other countries are ready to supply German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine but they need approval from the German government.

Since the beginning of Russia's all-out invasion in February 2022, the German government has been criticized for delaying and blocking arms supplies to Ukraine. Amid pressure from the media, the public and NATO allies, Germany has increased its arms supplies to Ukraine but German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is still accused of being reluctant to antagonize Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

There have been media reports that Scholz had agreed to supply Leopard 2 tanks only if the U.S. delivers Abrams tanks to Ukraine. The German government has denied the reports.

The U.S. has so far refused to supply Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

Several Congressmen have called on the U.S. government to supply Abrams tanks to Ukraine as a way to get the Germans on board.

US lawmakers call for giving Ukraine Abrams tanks to ensure delivery of Leopards
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