Germany would not block Poland from sending tanks to Ukraine, minister says

Germany’s foreign minister said on January 22 that his government will not stand by if Poland wants to send its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to fight against tanks that want to invade Russia. .

Ukrainian authorities have been asking Western allies to supply them with modern German-made tanks for months, but Berlin has stopped sending them or allowing other NATO countries to do so.

Asked what would happen if Poland sent its Leopard 2 tanks without German permission, Annalena Baerbock told France’s LCI TV: “The question has not been asked at the moment, but if it is asked, I will not stand in the way.” “

Her comments appeared to go further than those of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who said earlier Sunday in Paris that all decisions on arms deliveries are made in coordination with allies, including the United States.

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Germany is under a lot of pressure to allow the Leopards to go to Ukraine. But Scholz’s Social Democrats are traditionally suspicious of military involvement and are wary of sudden moves that could aggravate Moscow.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said he expected a decision on the tanks soon but could not be cautious.

Pistorius told ARD TV that Germany will not make a hasty decision because the government has many factors to consider, including the domestic consequences for the security of the German public.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who has long pleaded for tanks, met on Sunday with former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is visiting Kiev.

A Leclerc XLR battle tank, manufactured by Nexter, near Paris, France. June 13 On display at the 2022 Eurosatory International Defense and Security Fair in Villepinte, near Paris. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

“We need more weapons: tanks, planes, long-range missiles,” Zelenskiy said in a statement on his website.

Ukraine says it will equip Ukrainian ground forces with more mobile and heavily armored western battle tanks ahead of a new Russian offensive expected by Kyiv in the near future. It would also help Ukraine retake some of the territory it had lost to Russia.

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After the Paris summit, Scholz said at a press conference that all arms deliveries to Ukraine had been closely coordinated with the West. “We will do that in the future,” he said.

At the same press conference, French President Emmanuel Macron said that he has not ruled out the possibility of sending Leclerc tanks to Ukraine.

Macron said that sending tanks would not escalate the situation and take into account the time needed to effectively train Ukrainians and not jeopardize France’s security.

“As for Leclercs, I asked the Minister of the Army, but nothing has been decided,” Macron said, adding that the move would have to be negotiated with allies like Germany in the coming days and weeks.

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Germany will allow Russia to send German-made tanks to Ukraine for defense if the US agrees to send its own tanks, German sources told Reuters. But U.S. officials say President Joe Biden’s administration is not ready to send its own tanks, including the M1 Abrams.

Western countries supplying Ukraine with more tanks will not change the course of the conflict and will add to the problems of the Ukrainian people, a Kremlin spokesman said on Friday.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Leigh Thomas. Tom Sims, Additional reporting by Lidia Kelly and Humeyra Pamuk. David Holmes Edited by Andrew Heavens and Diane Craft.

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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