Polish PM believes Germany will approve handover of tanks to Ukraine

Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, has said that he cannot imagine a situation in which Germany will not approve Poland's plan to hand over Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Main battle tanks such as the Leopard have been at the top of Ukraine's weapons wish-list since Russia invaded last year, with Kyiv arguing they would give its army an offensive edge on the battlefield.

Poland has said it is prepared to donate a company of 14 Leopard tanks but any handover requires the approval of Berlin because Germany controls the export license for the vehicles.

"I cannot believe that Germany will not quickly and approve the handover to Ukraine of Leopard 2 tanks," Morawiecki said on Monday morning before leaving for talks in Berlin. 

Referring to his visit, Morawiecki said he planned to talk to German politicians from various groupings about the planned handover of tanks. "Ukraine needs modern, western tanks," he added.

President Andrzej Duda made the offer of tanks during a meeting in the Ukrainian town of Lviv with his Ukrainian and Lithuanian counterparts on January 11.

The UK government also announced that it was planning to offer tanks to Ukraine. According to the Sky News broadcaster, Britain will hand over 10 of its Challenger 2 tanks. 

Referring to comments from US President Joe Biden calling for the handover of tanks, Morawiecki expressed hope that "German politicians would become encouraged" and would be ready to send Leopards to Ukraine.

"Poland is ready to do this," Morawiecki said, adding that the war in Ukraine was also for "our security."

"For stability and for peace - and that is why it is so important to stop acting in a dilatory way and to start offering true support, just like Poland, the US and Great Britain have been doing," Morawiecki concluded.