Poland will receive permission to transfer German-made tanks to Ukraine “or we will do the right thing ourselves,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday.
Any transfer of the Leopard 2 main battle tanks would usually require permission from Berlin, as they are made in Germany.
When asked about Germany’s delay in giving permission for the transfer, Morawiecki said Poland had offered Ukraine 14 tanks.
“At the same time, we must ensure that others also meet these needs. Among these others, the ones who have been the least proactive so far are the Germans,” he said during a video interview on his way back from the International Economic Forum in Davos.
“We will continue our efforts, we will continue to pressure the Foreign Ministry and Germany to respond to our proposal as soon as possible.”
New Defense Minister: Morawiecki was also asked if he expected a change after Boris Pistorius, who has called for sanctions against Russia to be eased, took over as Germany’s defense minister.
“This worries me a lot. I don’t know much about the new German Defense Minister. What I know gives me some anxiety,” Morawiecki said.
But Pistorius would have to be given “a few days of time” to see “what his first steps will be,” added Morawiecki.
We agreed that we would deliver the tanks together,” he said. “Consent is secondary. Either we will get this consent, or we will do the right thing ourselves.”
“The most important thing is that the Germans, the Danes, the Finns, the French and other nations offer their modern tanks and heavy equipment as soon as possible,” Morawiecki said. “The ability to defend freedom in Ukraine, and therefore the security of the whole of Europe, may depend on it.”
‘Encouraging and inspiring others’: Poland has already sent 250 tanks to Ukraine, Morawiecki told CNN’s Richard Quest on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum on Wednesday.
“We were the first to offer the Leopard tanks and now we are encouraging and inspiring others, particularly the Germans, to do their part,” he said.
“Now the Leopard tanks are the next round of our support for Ukraine. The critically important point is whether the Germans will finally give their share of heavy artillery, in particular heavy and modern tanks,” Morawiecki said.
“And this is the main question, because 14 tanks on top of 250 is not a game changer, but if France and in particular Germany and some other countries gave 20-30 tanks each, then it could make all the difference for Ukraine.” . he added she.
Some context: There is increasing pressure for the Western Allies to provide Ukraine with heavy battle tanks.
France, Poland and the UK have pledged to soon send tanks for the Ukrainian military to use in its efforts to ward off Russia. Finland is considering doing the same.
Germany has said it would transfer infantry fighting vehicles to Kyiv, but has not yet committed to sending tanks. Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz has insisted that any such plan should be fully coordinated with the entire Western alliance, including the United States.
Western allies will meet tomorrow at the US Ramstein airbase in Germany to discuss more military aid for Kyiv.