Polish MoD unhappy with German tank offer

Tomasz Gzell/PAP

Mariusz Blaszczak, the Polish defence minister, has said Germany has been deceiving Poland in its offer to replace some of the Soviet-era T-72 tanks that Poland passed on to Ukraine.

Warsaw has given Kyiv over 200 T-72 tanks in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In an excerpt of an interview released on the wpolityce.pl website on Saturday, which will be published in full in the right-wing Sieci weekly on Monday, Blaszczak said Poland had counted on at least 44 Leopard tanks in its older 2A4 version, compatible with the vehicles the Polish Army already uses.

"The story goes like this: After we passed our tanks to Ukraine, I talked to my German counterpart, Christine Lambrecht," Blaszczak said. "I was asked whether we were interested in Germany helping us fill the gap that had appeared.

"I said that of course, we were interested and indicated Leopards 2A4, which are tanks that we already have, not the latest version," Blaszczak said. "Some media, especially those with German ownership, wrote later that we wanted the latest tanks. It's not true."

The defence minister also said that during the talk with Lambrecht he wanted to go straight into details, but heard that experts would deal with that.

"We started to be deceived and were told that it's not an immediate thing, and that analyses were needed," Blaszczak said, complaining that Germany's latest proposal was 20 Leopard 2A4 tanks "which are now in a condition that makes them unfit for service."

He said necessary works on the tanks would take at least 12 months.

"I answered that we counted on at least a battalion of tanks, which according to Western standards is 44 tanks and according to Polish standards - 58," Blaszczak continued.

"Twenty tanks in such condition are of no use to us," he said.