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Macron does not rule out sending Leclerc tanks to Ukraine.

by The Kyiv Independent news deskJanuary 23, 2023 1:50 am

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Jan. 22 that he does not rule out supplying French-made Leclerc main battle tanks to Ukraine. 

Macron, who was speaking at a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Paris, said he had asked French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu to work on the issue. 

According to Macron, a decision on the transfer of Leclerc tanks to Ukraine will be made in the coming days and weeks but should be agreed with other allies, including Germany.

“The war in Ukraine reminds us that it is up to our generation to prevent the dreams of the founders of the European Union from falling apart,” the statement of both leaders reads, the Financial Times reported. “It is now our task once again to ensure that the coming generations of Europeans can live on a continent of peace, prosperity and freedom.” 

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. 

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." 

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 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 deliver Abrams tanks to Ukraine as a way to get the Germans on board.

Meanwhile, earlier in January the U.K. confirmed the delivery of 14 Challenger 2 tanks as part of a new package of military aid for Ukraine.  

The Kyiv Independent news desk
The Kyiv Independent news desk

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