Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Jan. 16 that “there is no reason to block support for Kyiv and delay it indefinitely,” urging the German government to provide Ukraine with “all types of weapons,” the Polish Press Agency reported.
Morawiecki also said that Ukrainians are now fighting “not only for their freedom but also in defense of Europe,” as quoted by the media.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Jan. 11 that Poland planned to supply a company of modern German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Since Leopard 2 tanks are produced in Germany, sending them to Ukraine requires approval from the German government.
German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck also said on Jan. 12 that Berlin “should not stand in the way” of Poland’s decision to supply German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
“There is a difference between making a decision for yourself and preventing others from making a decision,” Habeck said, as quoted by the German newspaper Die Welt.
On Jan. 13, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reported that five countries are ready to transfer Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine, but they are waiting for permission from Germany.
Poland and Finland have publicly announced plans to supply Leopard tanks, while three other countries have said “privately” that they are ready to supply them, according to Kuleba.
Bloomberg has reported, citing two unnamed officials familiar with the matter, that Germany will likely make a decision this week on whether to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
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.
Scholz on Jan. 13 complained about alleged pressure to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine and said that Germany would not rush to deliver weapons and would "weigh every step carefully," AP and Der Spiegel reported.