Poland Confirms Plans to Deliver Leopard 2 Tanks to Ukraine – After weeks of speculation that Ukraine could be on track to receive its first shipment of advanced tanks.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda appeared alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to announce that Warsaw will provide the German-made Leopard 2 tanks that Kyiv has been requesting for months.
“A company of Leopard tanks will be handed over as part of coalition-building,” Duda said during a trip to Lviv in western Ukraine. “We want it to be an international coalition.”
Duda’s reference to a “company” refers to a shipment of 14 tanks in total.
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Previously, Duda insisted that Poland would not provide the tanks without support from other Western countries, making his Wednesday announcement particularly interesting.
The announcement could suggest that other European countries, including Germany, could be looking to supply tanks to Ukraine – as Polish and French officials have reportedly been pressuring the nation’s government to do.
However, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz cast doubt on the likelihood of Germany immediately providing the weapons on the same day that Duda announced the future delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Germany Want U.S. To Lead the Way on Tanks?
A spokesperson for the German chancellor said on Wednesday that the United Kingdom’s plans to send British Challenger 2 to Ukraine don’t change the position of the German government.
It means that, despite the United Kingdom’s decision to provide the main battle tanks to Ukraine, Germany remains skeptical and could be waiting for the United States to make a move first.
“There is no change in the situation now because of the step that the British government has announced,” Steffen Hebestreit told a press conference held in Berlin, adding that he was now aware of requests made by allied countries to supply Leopard tanks to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Politico also reported this week that two German officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the position of the German chancellor was largely dependent on the views of U.S. President Joe Biden.
The decision to send more Leopards to Ukraine, therefore, could depend on if the United States agrees to send tanks to Ukraine, or if President Joe Biden intervenes and encourages Germany to make the move.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.