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Polish Defense Minister says Germany received request to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 24, 2023 3:08 PM 2 min read
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Germany has received Poland's official request for permission to transfer its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, according to Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak. "I also appeal to the German side to join the coalition of countries supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. This is our common cause because it is about the security of all of Europe," Blaszczak wrote on Twitter on Jan. 24.

The German government's spokesman confirmed this information to CNN, adding that it's not known how quickly a decision on the Polish request will be made, but the process would take place with "necessary urgency."

Poland announced plans to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine earlier in January, but Germany has been reluctant to approve the supplies, drawing international condemnation. Recently the German government has softened its position under the pressure of its allies, indicating that it might approve the supplies of Leopards.

According to German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, the country's Chancellor Olaf Scholz is discussing the provision of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine with partners and could allow their delivery in the next few days.

"I am preparing for a possible decision to send the Leopard tanks and to allow other European and NATO partners to do the same," said Pistorius at a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Jan. 24.

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

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Jan. 23 that Poland would supply Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine even if Germany does not approve the transfer. To do that, Poland would need to build "a small coalition of countries," according to Morawiecki.

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.

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