Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Monday that they would seek Germany’s permission to send Leopard tanks into Ukraine amid its ongoing war with Russia.
Poland is building a coalition of countries that are ready to send the Panthers to Ukraine, Moravecki said, but even without Germany’s consent, he said Poland will make its own decisions.
We will ask [Germany] For permission, but that’s a minor topic,” Murawiki said. “Even if in the end we do not get this permission, we – within this small alliance – even if Germany is not in this alliance, we will deliver our tanks, along with the others, to Ukraine.”
German Foreign Minister Analina Berbock told French TV channel LCI on Sunday that Poland had not formally requested approval for the participation of some German-made Panther variants.
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“If he asked us, we wouldn’t get in the way,” Burbuck said.
In response to Berbock’s comments, Morawiecki said that “exerting pressure makes sense” and that her words were a “spark of hope” that Germany might even participate in the alliance.
Morawiecki said that Berbock “sent a different message that provides a spark of hope that Germany will not only not stop anymore, but perhaps will finally offer heavy, modern equipment in support of Ukraine.”
“We are constantly pressing the government in Berlin to make the leopards available,” Morawiecki told a news conference in the western city of Poznan.
According to Morawiecki, in Germany there are “more than 350 active leopards and about 200 tigers in storage”.
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The Ukrainian government has said the tanks, especially the German-made Panthers, are essential in its attempt to push back the Russian forces.
Berbock indicated that Germany might be open to sending tanks to Ukraine, saying that German officials “know how important these tanks are” and “that is why we are discussing this now with our partners”.
During a meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday, Ukraine’s supporters pledged billions of dollars in military aid.
Germany is a major arms donor to Ukraine and has ordered a review of its Leopard 2 stockpiles in preparation for sending the tanks. However, the German government has been cautious about increasing its military aid to Ukraine.
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The hesitation from Germany drew criticism, particularly from Poland and the Baltic states, countries on NATO’s eastern side, which feel particularly threatened by a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
But Moscow has responded to pledges of advanced Western weapons to Ukraine by highlighting its warnings that escalation could lead to disaster. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Monday confirmed the Kremlin’s statement that the West’s support for Ukraine with supplies could lead to “unexpected” consequences.
“We have said on many occasions that escalation is the most dangerous path and that the consequences can be unpredictable,” Ryabkov said. Our signals are not being heard, and Russia’s opponents continue to raise the stakes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.