Ukraine’s defeat may lead to WWIII – EU state's PM
Ukraine’s defeat may lead to a Third World War, meaning Germany and other NATO countries must step up and send Kiev more weapons, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki claimed on Monday.
Speaking in Berlin at a celebration of German politician Wolfgang Schauble’s 50-year career, Morawiecki insisted that Germany must allow the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Poland and Finland have promised Kiev the tanks, but need formal German permission to actually hand them over.
“Today Ukrainians are fighting not only for their freedom, but also in defense of Europe,” Morawiecki insisted. “I call on the German government to act decisively and deliver all types of weapons to Ukraine.”
“The defeat of Ukraine may become a prelude to World War III, so today there is no reason to block support for Kiev and postpone matters indefinitely,” he added.
The Polish PM also spoke of “Ukrainian blood being shed” to prevent what he claimed could be a Russian attack on other EU countries. Last week, Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov said in an interview that Ukraine was shedding blood to carry out “NATO’s mission,” so the US-led bloc ought to supply it with weapons.
Germany has about 110 Leopard tanks that it could potentially hand over to Ukraine – 88 of which are the old Leopard 1s – but actually making them fit for service would cost hundreds of millions of euros and take about a year, Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger claimed in an interview over the weekend.
Moscow has repeatedly warned the West that sending weapons to Kiev prolongs the conflict but will not change its outcome. German tanks “will burn like the rest” of Western weapons, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.
Morawiecki’s visit came on the same day German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht confirmed she was stepping down. Germany has pledged to begin the deployment of a Bundeswehr-operated Patriot air defense battery to Poland. That move was arranged after a Ukrainian missile struck a Polish village in November, killing two civilians. Warsaw ended up having to debunk Kiev’s claims that the missile had been Russian.