If Poland wants to help Kiev with Leopard-2 tanks to fight against Russian aggression, they can make progress on the battlefield. In that case, Germany will not stop Poland. This is what the German Foreign Minister said on Sunday. News from Reuters.
Ukrainian officials have been urging Western allies for months to supply them with modern German-made tanks. But Berlin has yet to send them or allow other NATO countries to do so.
Asked what would happen if Poland came forward to supply Leopard-2 tanks without Germany’s approval, German Foreign Minister Annalena Bierbock told France’s LCI TV, “The question has not been asked, but if we are asked for permission, we will not prevent it.”
His comments appeared to echo German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s remarks at a summit in Paris on Sunday that all decisions on arms deliveries would be made in coordination with allies, including the United States.
Germany is under heavy pressure to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine. But Scholz’s Social Democrat Party is traditionally skeptical of military involvement and wary of sudden moves that could further stoke Moscow’s concerns.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Sunday that he expected a decision on the tanks soon, although he sounded a note of caution. Pistorius told ARD TV that Germany would not make a hasty decision because the government had to consider many factors, including consequences at home for the safety of the German people.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky repeated his longstanding plea for tanks in a meeting Sunday with former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is visiting Kyiv.
“We need more weapons: tanks, planes, long-range missiles,” Zelensky said, according to a statement on the website.
Ukraine says the heavily armored Western battle tanks will give Ukrainian ground forces more mobility and protection ahead of a new Russian offensive that Kiev expects in the near future. It will also help Ukraine recover some of the territories it took from Russia.
All arms deliveries to Ukraine so far have been through close coordination with Western partners, Scholz told a news conference after the Paris conference. We will continue to do so in the future.
Speaking at the same press conference, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had not ruled out sending Leclerc tanks to Ukraine.
Macron said sending tanks must not escalate the situation, must take into account the time it takes to train Ukrainians to be effective, and must not jeopardize France’s own security.
He added, ‘Regarding the Leclairs, I asked the Army Minister to work on it, but nothing has been ruled out. The move will need to be coordinated with allies such as Germany in the coming days and weeks
German sources told Reuters the US would allow German-made tanks to be sent to Ukraine to help defend it against Russia if the US agrees to send its own tanks. But US officials say President Joe Biden’s administration is not ready to send its own tanks, including the M-1 Abrams.
Western countries supplying Ukraine with additional tanks will not change the course of the conflict and will increase the problems of the Ukrainian people, the Kremlin spokesman said on Friday.