Poland slams 'unacceptable' German stance on Leopard tanks

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 22 2023 06:08 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2023 09:26 AM

Czech soldiers stand near a Leopard 2A4 tank during a ceremony for the hand over of the symbolic key of the tank to the Czech army, in Praslavice, Czech Republic, 21 December 2022. EPA-EFE/VLADIMIR PRYCEK
Czech soldiers stand near a Leopard 2A4 tank during a ceremony for the hand over of the symbolic key of the tank to the Czech army, in Praslavice, Czech Republic, 21 December 2022. EPA-EFE/VLADIMIR PRYCEK

WARSAW - Poland's prime minister on Sunday lashed out at Germany's decision not to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine, branding the country's stance "unacceptable".

Berlin has been hesitant to send the heavy-duty tanks or allow other nations to transfer them to Kyiv.

"Germany's attitude is unacceptable. It has been almost a year since the war began. Innocent people are dying every day," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the PAP agency.

"Russian bombs are wreaking havoc in Ukrainian cities. Civilian targets are being attacked, women and children are being murdered". 

On Friday, around 50 countries agreed to provide Kyiv with billions of dollars' worth of military hardware, including armored vehicles and munitions needed to push back Russian forces.

But German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said despite heightened expectations, "we still cannot say when a decision will be taken, and what the decision will be, when it comes to the Leopard tank."

Germany is the producer of Leopard tanks and Poland's prime minister also said he was waiting for "a clear statement" from Berlin whether countries that have the Leopards can transfer them to Ukraine.

Poland has announced it is ready to deliver 14 Leopard tanks to Kyiv, and says it is discussing the matter with around 15 countries. 

If Berlin refuses to supply the tanks to Ukraine, "we will set up a 'small coalition' of countries ready to donate some of their modern equipment, their modern tanks," Morawiecki said.

In a joint statement Saturday, the foreign ministers of the three Baltic states urged Germany "to provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine now".