Poland sends Leopard 2 Tanks to Ukraine
Poland has decided to send German Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
This was announced by the Polish President Andrzej Duda during a meeting of the Lublin Triangle in Lviv, in which representatives of Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine take part, quoted by the Polish media RP.
Today in Lviv, together with Presidents @ZelenskyyUa and @GitanasNauseda, we are talking in the Lublin Triangle format about military support for Ukraine against Russian aggression and about Ukraine's integration with the EU and NATO. ???????????????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/iYSWqEdYWL— Andrzej Duda (@AndrzejDuda) January 11, 2023
"A Leopard 2 tank company will be handed over as part of the coalition. We want this to be an international coalition and we have decided to include in it a package of a Leopard 2 company, which - I hope - along with other tank companies will soon sail to Ukraine," Duda announced.
"One country cannot provide us with enough tanks, because we are facing thousands of tanks of the Russian Federation," announced Volodymyr Zelensky.
Warsaw has 249 Leopard tanks.
It is not known exactly how many tanks Warsaw will send. A tank company in Poland consists of 14 vehicles, RP reports.
In recent months, Ukraine has made urgent requests to Berlin for the delivery of the new generation of Leopard 2 tanks, but German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly stated that Germany will act on this issue only in coordination with its allies. According to his words, so far no country has supplied Kyiv with Western-made tanks. Berlin reserves the right to require approval for the end use of all German-made weapons.
Duda's promise supposedly means that the Germans have finally given the "green light" to send tanks to Ukraine. Or the Polish president has estimated that with his statement, the pressure on Germany will increase to the point that he will force it to give them way.
In today's interview with the German media "Tagesschau", Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed confidence that Berlin will provide the Leopard sooner or later.
"Even if Germany has certain rational arguments not to do it, Germany will do it anyway at a later date. We have already seen this with the self-propelled howitzers, with the IRIS-T anti-aircraft system and most recently with the Marder and Patriot systems which followed the same pattern: first they say no, then they vigorously defend their decision, only to finally say yes. We are still trying to understand why the German government is doing this to itself."
Germany, Spain, Poland, Greece, Denmark and Finland are among the many countries that already use the roughly 60-tonne Leopard 2, which is equipped with a 120mm gun as well as a state-of-the-art defense system and armour. This would allow the Allies to jointly arrange the delivery of both the tanks and the necessary ammunition, and to pool in the necessary maintenance and repairs.
"The Ukrainians really want Leopards because there are a lot of them in stock all over Europe," a French official familiar with the tank discussions told Politico.
After Duda's statement, reactions from Ukraine were not long in coming. Here is what the adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko, posted on his Twitter page:
Ukraine will receive Leopard tanks - President of Poland @AndrzejDuda announced the transfer within an international coalition.— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) January 11, 2023
I like cats ????
(You know) pic.twitter.com/jRjXnmaRvR
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