Poland asks Germany for permission to send tanks to Ukraine, but will do it “with or without Germany”.

Berlin– Poland will ask the German government for permission to deliver German-made Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Monday, seemingly pushing his country closer to fulfilling a long-held wish of Ukraine’s political and military leaders. As a production country, Germany must authorize the export of Leopard tanks to third countries.

Ukrainian leaders, from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to commanders CBS News has interviewed in the freezing trenches in along the front line Russia’s war against the countryhave made it clear for weeks that they cannot fight off Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine without more heavy weapons – and main battle tanks, along with more advanced air defense missile systemshave long been at the top of the wish list.

Russia Ukraine War
A Leopard 2 tank is pictured at a media demonstration event by the German Bundeswehr in Munster near Hanover, Germany, September 28, 2011.

Michael Sohn/AP

At a meeting of the European Union, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Monday evaded the question of whether Germany would soon approve a formal request from Poland or other countries to supply leopards to Ukraine. She did, however, explain why, in her view, a decision by her own government was needed.

“The whole country [Ukraine] is under attack by the Russian regime, and it is clear that even 11 months after the start of the ruthless Russian offensive war, Putin has not deviated from his murderous plan to destroy Ukraine,” said Baerbock. “That is why it is so important that we do as the international community, we are doing everything we can to defend Ukraine so that Ukraine wins – wins to live in peace and freedom again. Because if it loses this war, there will be no more Ukraine.”

A day earlier, Baerbock said on French television that Germany would not block the export of Leopard tanks from third countries to Ukraine.

“At the moment the question has not been asked, but if we were asked, we wouldn’t stand in the way,” she said after being asked what would happen in theory if Poland decided to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine. to deliver.

The defense minister urges allies to step up aid to Ukraine


Baerbock’s comments put her at odds with the man in charge of the German government, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and French President Emmanuel Macron, both of whom declined to make firm commitments last week or this weekend about whether Germany or France would supply the main power. battle tanks to Ukraine.

Prime Minister Morawiecki had previously announced that Poland would supply leopards to Ukraine if necessary, with or without Germany’s permission.

“We will not stand idly by while Ukraine bleeds to death,” he told the PAP news agency. “Ukraine and Europe will win this war – with or without Germany.”

He made it clear that if Germany dragged on with approval, Poland would form a “smaller coalition” with other unspecified countries to start supplying Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Hundreds of modern German-made tanks are deployed across Europe, and Morawiecki was probably referring to other NATO member states, such as Finland, Latvia and Estonia, which are geographically much closer to Russian territory than Germany and have pushed hard for more support. for Ukraine.

Germany Western Balkans
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, welcomes Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to the “Western Balkans” conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, in a Nov. 3, 2022 file photo.

Michele Tantussi/AP

Latvian President Egils Levits reiterated the Polish demand, telling a German radio station that “everything necessary must be done so that Ukraine can defend itself”.

He emphasized the oft-repeated warning that supplying more heavy weapons to Ukraine was not just to ensure that country could defend itself, but to ensure the security of all of democratic Europe.

“Obviously if a state doesn’t come along, that’s a problem,” Levits said, adding that he couldn’t understand Scholz’s apparent reluctance.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Sunday evening that a careful coordination process with partner countries was underway, but that no final decision has been made in Berlin on when or if the transfer of leopards to Ukraine will be formally approved.

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