Poland makes official request for Germany's Leopard 2 tanks
Germany, whose approval is required for Leopard re-exports, has held back, fearful of an escalation of the war in Ukraine.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on Tuesday said his country had officially requested permission from Germany to transfer its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
"The Germans have already received our request for consent to the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine," Blaszczak tweeted.
"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 the whole of Europe!''
Niemcy otrzymali już nasz wniosek o wyrażenie zgody na przekazanie czołgów Leopard 2 na Ukrainę. Apeluję także do strony niemieckiej o przyłączenie się do koalicji państw wspierających Ukrainę czołgami Leopard 2. To nasza wspólna sprawa, bo chodzi o bezpieczeństwo całej Europy! pic.twitter.com/9oMQihI83Z— Mariusz Błaszczak (@mblaszczak) January 24, 2023
Later, Germany said it would decide "shortly" whether to authorize the export of powerful German-made Leopard battle tanks long sought by Kiev, encouraging allies to start training Ukrainian forces to use them.
While Western nations have pledged ever more sophisticated military hardware in recent weeks for Ukraine, all eyes in Kiev are on the battle tanks.
This comes shortly after Berlin announced earlier this week that it will not allow allies to send German-made tanks to Kiev unless Washington agrees to ship to Ukraine its US-made tanks, The Wall Street Journal reported.
However, a few days later, Germany seems to have yielded to its allies' requests with its Foreign Minister announcing that Germany is ready to greenlight Poland to send German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine if Warsaw decides to file the request.
"If we are asked the question, then we will not stand in the way," Annalena Baerbock told LCI television after a Franco-German summit meeting in Paris.
Poland stated earlier that it is ready to provide Kiev with 14 Leopard battle tanks, noting that it is in talks with 15 countries on the matter.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced on Monday that Warsaw had asked Germany for authorization to transfer the tanks to Ukraine.
"I hope that Germany will respond quickly this time because Germany is delaying, postponing, dragging [things] out, acting in a way that is difficult to understand. We clearly see that they do not want to help ... Ukraine extensively," Morawiecki told journalists.
"If Germany refuses to send its tanks to Kiev, we will set up a 'small coalition' of countries ready to donate some of their modern equipment, their modern tanks," Morawiecki warned last week.
We are waiting for "a clear statement" from Germany whether countries that own Leopard tanks can send them to Ukraine, he further stressed.
In April last year, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz suggested that sending any Western tanks to Ukraine would increase the risk of a nuclear war between NATO and Russia.
On the other hand, Poland has been staunchly supporting Ukraine against Russia since the beginning of the war, as it has been arming Kiev and receiving vast amounts of Ukrainian refugees.