Poland will formally ask Germany for permission to hand over some of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has said.
Poland has been planning to hand over a company, or 14 of its Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine as part of a broader international coalition, but needs formal consent from its maker and seller, Germany. Berlin had been wary of agreeing to the export of Leopards, but on Sunday the German foreign minister hinted that Germany would not stand in the way of Poland transferring the tanks to its neighbour to help it fight the Russian invasion.
“We’ll ask for permission, but it’s a secondary issue,” Morawiecki said on Monday.
“I can say that the pressure, that our efforts to build a coalition of countries that want to help in this dramatic fight in Ukraine, have been effective,” he added.
“This weekend, the German foreign minister sent a slightly different message, which offers a glimmer of hope that Germany will not only be getting out of the way, but will also finally offer modern heavy equipment to support Ukraine,” the Polish prime minister said.
Morawiecki went on to say that Germany has 350 ‘active’ Leopards and 200 more in warehouses, so they have a real capacity to help Ukraine.
“Even if we ultimately don’t receive permission, then, despite that, we’d transfer our tanks to Ukraine together with others within a small coalition, even if Germany is not in the coalition,” he said.