Poland threatens ‘coalition’ to overcome German stance on tanks – PM
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has taken the German leadership to task over its reluctance to provide tanks to Ukraine. He said Berlin would end up on the wrong side of history unless it gave the green light to such deliveries.
At a meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group on Friday, Berlin reiterated its unwillingness to send Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev. It also failed to authorize other countries to send them. Poland is among those who possess the hardware and have said they are ready to hand it over.
In an interview with the Polish Press Agency published on Sunday, Morawiecki said that Warsaw was prepared to set up a “smaller coalition” to facilitate the handover of German-made Leopards. Citing the Ukraine Contact Group’s failure to reach an agreement, the Polish premier described Germany’s stance as “unacceptable.”
Earlier this month, the German government warned countries operating the Leopard 2 that acting without its consent to transfer the tanks to Kiev would be “illegal.”
Morawiecki argued that Berlin would not have to significantly dilute its armored strength, as contributing just a small number of vehicles would be meaningful. He also said Germany should not “weaken or sabotage the activities of other countries.” “The enemy is in the East and we’re wasting time on discussions that yield nothing good,” Morawiecki lamented.
The Polish premier said that authorities in Berlin had in the past tried to “tame the Russian bear with generous contracts” and are now reluctant to “admit the error.” “Ukraine and Europe will win this war – with or without Germany,” Morawiecki concluded.
On Friday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov announced that Ukrainian troops would begin training on Leopard tanks in Poland. He also expressed optimism that Berlin would eventually change its mind about providing heavy armor.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that the “importance of such supplies in terms of their ability to change something” on the battlefield should not be exaggerated.
The first to promise Western-made main battle tanks to Kiev was the UK. While the British government vowed to deliver fourteen Challenger 2 tanks, the US, France, and Germany committed to sending infantry fighting vehicles.