Berlin has not received an official request from Poland or Finland to transfer Leopard tanks to Ukraine, an undisclosed German government spokesperson quoted by Reuters said on Jan. 13.
“We do not say “no” to the transfer of Leopards to Ukraine because we have not yet received an official request in this matter,” German government spokesperson Christiane Hoffman reportedly told a Polish journalist working for Wydarzenia.
Polish President Andrzej Duda announced the delivery of a company of modern German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine on Jan. 11.
Since the tanks are produced in Germany, the approval of the German government is required for their export.
German Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck 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 German newspaper Die Welt.
The lack of broader coordination among European partners has been consistently presented by Germany as the reason for not taking the lead with delivering Leopards.
On Jan 10, Politico reported that France was putting increasing pressure on Berlin to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine ahead of a Franco-German summit on Jan. 22.Poland also exerted pressure on Germany by publicly calling for a broad coalition among Western allies to hand over Leopards.
On Jan. 9, a German government spokesman said the country had no plans to supply Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks.
The statement came a day after Habeck told ARD that the possibility of delivering the tanks “cannot be ruled out.”
Ukraine has repeatedly requested to be provided with German-made Leopard 2 tanks operated by several European countries, including Germany, Poland, Finland, the Netherlands, and Spain.