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Help for Ukraine: Poland wants to deliver Leopard tanks – pressure on Berlin

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Poland and Britain are also publicly speeding up the possible delivery of Leopard main battle tanks to Kyiv. The federal government hesitates and presents it as if there were no proposals on the table.

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A week ahead of talks in Ramstein, the Polish government is increasing the pressure on Germany with a push to deliver Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine.

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His country has already made the decision to provide the Ukrainians with Leopard main battle tanks for a company as part of a coalition, said President Andrzej Duda in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv after a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyj and Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda. In Poland, as in Germany, a Leopard company is usually equipped with 14 main battle tanks.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has invited the members of the so-called Ukraine Contact Group to a meeting on January 20 at the US Ramstein Air Force Base in Rhineland-Palatinate. It should go to the further weapons aid. In addition to the USA, Germany and Great Britain also belong to the Ukraine contact group.

Germany plays a key role in the debate

Duda said the prerequisite for handing over the Leopard main battle tanks was “a whole series of formal requirements and permits”. On the other hand, Poland wanted an international coalition to be formed to which other countries would also contribute “Leopard type and other” main battle tanks. These would then have to be transferred to Ukraine in a timely manner in order to support the defense of the country attacked by Russia.

Germany plays a key role in the debate because the Leopard 2 tanks were developed in Germany and cannot be handed over to Ukraine without German approval. There were no signals from the federal government for a short-term change of course. It was “not very likely” that there would be a change in the attitude of the federal government before the meeting in Ramstein, government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said in Berlin. According to him, there were no specific inquiries.

Hebestreit said that no specific request from the allies was known that Germany itself would supply battle tanks. “We have air defense systems of various types, we now have infantry fighting vehicles, but we have also delivered and continue to deliver many other troop carriers and the like. We are monitoring the situation on the ground very closely,” he emphasized.

London considering delivery of Challenger 2 main battle tanks

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) had said the night before that Ukraine needed additional tank deliveries to liberate other areas. In the ARD “Tagesthemen” she defended the German government’s approach to coordinating with allies and proceeding cautiously with regard to the demand for Leopard tanks. “Even if your heart is burning,” it is important to consider together how responsible steps can be taken.

According to Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, the decision on a delivery of Leopard 2 tanks should be clarified in a few weeks. “I think it’s pretty well known what Ukraine needs,” said Kristersson in Stockholm. Each country will now try to make decisions about what it can achieve. The needs of one’s own armed forces and “of course the regulations and decisions that depend on partners in these specific weapon systems” must be taken into account.

Sweden also has Leopard 2 tanks. They are models adapted to Swedish needs, called Stridsvagn 121 and 122 there. Kristersson did not say whether his government would consider handing over some tanks to Ukraine. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS/Military Balance), the Swedes last had 120 Leopard 2A5 (Strv 122). It is not entirely clear whether they still have nine older Leopard 2A4 (Strv-121) aircraft. This most frequently produced older type is considered a possible candidate for delivery to Ukraine.

Source: Stern

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