More tanks for Ukraine likely 'a matter of days' says deputy minister
Poland hopes to provide Ukraine with more tanks within days, not weeks, a deputy foreign minister has said.
The Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki went to Kyiv on Friday to mark the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and to announce the delivery of four Polish Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine as well as hold talks with the country's president, Volodymyr Zelensky. In total, Poland plans to pass 14 Leopard tanks to its eastern neighbour.
Morawiecki also said that Warsaw would hand over to Kyiv a number of its modernised Soviet-era PT-91 tanks "within days".
Poland has been named the leader of a coalition of Leopard 2A4 providers to Ukraine by Germany, the tank producer, which holds the licensing rights to the Leopards.
Paweł Jabłoński, a deputy foreign minister, told PAP that the tank coalition was going to send more tanks to Ukraine soon.
"We're hoping it will be very soon, that it's a matter of days rather than weeks," Jabłoński said.
Jabłoński went on to say that the reason why Poland had decided to deliver some tanks as soon as possible was to encourage other countries to step up their efforts.
"Poland will hand over more Leopard 2A4 tanks as soon as Ukrainian crews have completed their training," PAP was told on Sunday by Michał Dworczyk, a minister at the PM's Office.
Dworczyk added that some of these tanks were being used during the ongoing training.
"This will take no more than several weeks," he said, adding that PT-91 and T-72 tanks would also be sent to Ukraine soon.
Asked when PT-91 and T-72 tanks could be handed over to Ukraine, Dworczyk said that "this is also a matter of several weeks, or even less."
"In fact, they are practically in the process being handed over so they will be in Ukraine soon," he said.
On January 11, President Andrzej Duda announced in Lviv that Poland had decided to offer a company of Leopard 2 tanks, or 14 vehicles, to Ukraine as part of its efforts to build a larger coalition of donors.
In late January, Germany agreed to Poland handing over the tanks to Ukraine. According to the German defence ministry, Poland is to be the leading country among Leopard 2A4 donors and Berlin would champion the handing over of Leopard tanks in the 2A6 version.