Leopard tanks for Ukraine: Poland bucks the tiger

The Polish government will supply Leopard to the Armed Forces of Ukraine without Germany's permission of Germany. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accused Berlin of eyeing Russian natural gas.

Morawiecki will supply Leopard tanks without export permit

Radoslaw Vogel, a Polish MP from the ruling party, believes that the Polish government will supply Leopard tanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine without Germany's permission.

"The decision will be up to the president, the government, the defence minister, but I think that what the prime minister said was quite understandable," the MP from the Law and Justice Party said commenting on what Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told Polsat publication.

Earlier, Morawiecki told Polsat that Germany's consent on the matter was secondary:

"Approval is a secondary issue,” Morawiecki said in an interview with Polsat News late on Wednesday. "Either we get this approval soon or we will do ourselves what has to be done,” he added

The head of the Polish government stressed in an interview with CNN on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos that Poland had already sent 250 "our tanks" to Ukraine, and Leopard tanks would be part of Poland's next aid package to Ukraine.

When asked why Poland did not send the Leopard tanks to Ukraine before asking Berlin for re-export, the prime minister replied that it was "critically more important” whether Germany would send the Leopards itself.

Fourteen additional tanks from Poland is not a factor that changes the situation. But "if France, and even more so Germany, and other countries give 20-30 tanks each," then this could be of great importance for Ukraine, the Polish prime minister emphasised.

Morawiecki doesn't trust Berlin

The head of the Polish government, commenting on Berlin's indecision, noted that many German politicians were "stuck in another era, in which they were dependent on Russian gas."

Morawiecki also expressed concern about the recent statements from the new head of the German Ministry of National Defence, Boris Pistorius. Morawiecki did not explain which statements he was talking about exactly. On Jan. 17, Pistorius admitted that Germany was "involved in the war, indirectly." He added that his ministry would have to "get adapted to the new situation" that had developed against the backdrop of the conflict in Ukraine.

According to German media, in 2018, Pistorius called to lift sanctions from Russia (on Crimea). He then said that raw sanctions would be painful for the German economy and ineffective in putting pressure on Moscow.

It goes without saying that it is up to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, but not Pistorius, to make final decisions. Scholz earlier said that Berlin would agree to send its tanks only after Washington sent its state-of-the-art Abrams tanks to Kyiv first. According to Vogel, this is Berlin's ultimatum to Washington. Noteworthy, Abrams tanks do not appear on USA's latest aid package to Ukraine.

German officials noted that the unauthorised delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine without the permission from the German government would be regarded as illegal. Violation of arms export rules may entail criminal responsibility and prison terms for competent Polish officials.

Author`s name Lyuba Lulko
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Editor Dmitry Sudakov
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