Tanks for Ukraine: Polish PM urges German bravery on Leopard 2 choice – bbc.co.uk

By | January 26, 2023

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Watch: Poland's PM: "Free world can not afford to not ship Leopard tanks"
Poland's prime minister has known as on Germany to be "courageous" and permit his nation to export 14 Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.
Mateusz Morawiecki advised the BBC that Germany had a "particular accountability", having constructed up "enormous Russian funds" earlier than the struggle by shopping for its gasoline.
Ukraine sees the tanks as important for breaking by Russian strains and to beat an anticipated counter-offensive.
However as Leopard 2s are made in Germany, Berlin must approve their export.
Germany has been hesitant to ship its personal or enable different nations to do the identical.
One among its issues is {that a} sudden transfer might additional escalate the battle with Russia.
Mr Morawiecki mentioned he would give Germany one or two weeks to decide – however would ship its tanks, no matter Berlin says.
"We’ll do that, it doesn’t matter what the choice goes to be," he mentioned. "However we wish to go alongside the procedures that are requested of us."
He additionally maintained that Germany ought to ship a few of its personal Leopard 2s – he mentioned that they had 350 operational Leopard tanks and 200 in storage.
"Why preserve them in storage?" he requested.
President Zelensky believes about 300 Leopard tanks would assist it defeat Russia.
The German authorities advised the BBC it had obtained the request to export 14 German-made tanks on Tuesday.
The Leopard 2 tanks had been particularly designed to compete with the Russian T-90 tanks, that are getting used within the invasion.
In a BBC interview, Mr Morawiecki mentioned that an pressing transfer from Germany was "so vital".
"For this reason we’ve speak to our German companions, to not procrastinate, to not delay, however simply to take courageous choices," he mentioned.
"Germany performed a key position in build up the massive Russian funds for this struggle by shopping for Russian gasoline, buying and selling with Russia, massive time. Now there’s a particular accountability on Germany's shoulders," he added.
He earlier accused Germany of "delaying, dodging, appearing in a means that’s obscure".
Mr Morawiecki mentioned that Poland was "nearly to ship" 50 to 60 extra tanks to Ukraine.
He didn’t title the kind of tank, however was in all probability referring to extra Soviet-era tanks. Poland has already despatched about 250 Soviet period T-72 tanks to Ukraine.
On Tuesday, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius mentioned Berlin had given allied nations the inexperienced gentle to coach Ukrainians to make use of Leopard 2 tanks, however didn’t decide to sending their very own.
Mr Pistorius mentioned a call about supplying the tanks could be made quickly. The navy's chief of employees added that any choice could be taken at a political stage.
"We’re encouraging our companions in the event that they wish to, and if they’ve the chance, to start out coaching Ukrainian forces on these Leopard autos," Mr Pistorius mentioned in a information convention with Nato secretary common Jens Stoltenberg.
Allied nations have grow to be annoyed at what they understand as German reluctance to ship the armoured autos in current days.
However Miguel Berger, Germany's ambassador to the UK, advised the BBC that choices would "not be pushed by the information cycle".
Sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine "would put strain and extra stress on the connection between Germany and Russia", he mentioned.
"Chancellor Scholz must have the time to analyse the strategic implications of the choice after which decide with companions – this is essential."
Talking on Tuesday, Poland's Defence Minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, mentioned he was interesting to Germany to "be part of the coalition of nations supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks".
"That is our frequent trigger, as a result of the safety of the entire of Europe is at stake!" he added.
However Mr Pistorius defended German Chancellor Olaf Scholz towards criticism that he was dragging his toes.
"Taking the lead doesn’t imply blindly going forward," he mentioned. "And if the choice takes one other day or two, then that's simply the way in which it’s."
The UK has promised 14 Challenger tanks, whereas France is contemplating sending a few of its Leclerc battle tanks.
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