Germany 'ready' to let Poland send Leopard tanks to Ukraine
published : 23 Jan 2023 at 04:45
PARIS: Germany is ready to authorise Poland to send German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine to help Kyiv fight the Russian invasion if Warsaw makes such a request, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Sunday.
"If we are asked the question, then we will not stand in the way," Baerbock told LCI television after a Franco-German summit meeting in Paris.
"We know how important these tanks are and this is why we are discussing this now with our partners. We need to make sure people's lives are saved and Ukraine's territory liberated."
Baerbock, who represents the Greens in Social Democrat Chancellor Olaf Scholz's ruling coalition, said that Poland had yet to make a formal request.
Her comments come as Berlin resists pressure from Kyiv to send some of its own stocks of the Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
Poland has announced it is ready to deliver 14 Leopard tanks to Kyiv but Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he was waiting for "a clear statement" from Berlin whether countries that have the Leopards can transfer them to Ukraine.
He also described Germany's refusal to send its own tanks to Ukraine as "unacceptable".
"Innocent people are dying every day," told the PAP agency.
In a joint statement Saturday, the foreign ministers of the three Baltic states urged Germany "to provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine now.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday there was "no alternative" but for the West to give Ukraine heavy tanks.
Reports earlier in the week indicated Germany would agree to do so only if the US provided its tanks as well. Washington has said providing its Abrams tanks to Ukraine is not feasible, citing difficulties in training and maintenance.