Poland seeks Germany’s permission to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine; 500 million euros ($543m) pledged to arm Kyiv; Kremlin signals increasing nervousness.
Poland has offered to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine without approval, but is still seeking permission from Berlin. Kyiv has been pressing its allies for heavy weaponry, such as the powerful Leopard 2, to help push back Russian forces. Berlin has come under fire for not taking the critical decision, but German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said Germany would not stand in the way if Poland asked for approval. Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the request will be made, and that Poland will give its tanks to Ukraine regardless of Berlin’s decision.
Ukraine has said the world’s indecision is only “killing more of our people” and Germany has been criticised for dragging its feet on providing military hardware. Germany has stated that a decision will not be rushed, as it must consider the implications for its own defence. Julian Pawlak, a research associate at the University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg, said Ukraine will eventually depend more on western ammunition and assets.
The European Union has agreed to spend 3.6 billion euros ($3.9bn) to arm Ukraine, and foreign ministers on Monday agreed to spend an extra 500 million euros ($543m). This is in addition to the various weapons already sent by countries such as the United Kingdom and United States. However, Kyiv is still calling for more advanced and heavier weapons.
Germany is bound by the War Weapons Control Act, which requires Berlin’s approval for the transfer of Leopard tanks to Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s spokesman has said the government “does not rule out” the tanks’ transfer, but has not yet decided. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the latest developments “signalled increasing nervousness among members of the alliance”.
Poland is willing to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine without approval, but is still seeking permission from Berlin. Ukraine has called the tanks key to its effort in the war, and European nations have agreed to spend billions of dollars to arm Kyiv. Germany is bound by the War Weapons Control Act and has not yet taken a decision on the transfer of Leopard tanks. Kyiv is continuing to call for more advanced and heavier weapons, as the war in Ukraine heads for a second year.