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.
The chances of European countries sending advanced tanks to Ukraine and the United States only sending Bradley Fighting Vehicles, however, seem somewhat slim.
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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.
January 12, 2023 at 8:51 am
Given Poland’s incredible humanitarian/financial/military support so far it doesn’t surprise that they are testing the waters first in the hopes that once they crack the tap the rest will follow. Shame on Germany that they continue to use WWII as an excuse to refrain from doing the same. If they really want to reparate then they need to step up support for Ukraine and at least agree to the export even if they are too mealy mouthed to do the same.
January 12, 2023 at 9:39 am
The US Abrams tank is not ideal for Ukraine simply based on logistics and the fact it uses Jet fuel instead of diesel.
That said, a small amount of them can make a huge difference in a number of ways. Not least of which is getting Germany off the fence on allowing a larger number of Leopards to be sent to Ukraine. Ukraine’s neighbors have over 1000 Leopards and the logistics and repair infrastructure to help support Ukraine’s use of them.
And if the Battle of 73 Easting is any indication, where 36 M1 Abrams supported by some Bradley IFVs battled Russian made Iraqi T-72, T-62, and T-55 tanks…Ukraine will be in a much better situation.
In that Battle the 36 US tanks + Bradleys destroyed 160 Iraqi tanks, 180 personnel carriers, 12 artillery pieces and 80 wheeled vehicles, along with several anti-aircraft systems …with zero M1 losses and less than 5 Bradleys lost…
Of course the US military had air support, but a large supply of Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs with a 150km range will be a fine plan B, and is something the US military did not have in either Iraq War.
As stated before…a small amount of Abrams will make a big difference for Ukraine. Time to make it happen.
January 12, 2023 at 11:51 am
Are these the Leopard that was destroyed in Syria by missiles of a half-century-old model? or other?
As for the Challengers 2 – I don’t understand the enthusiasm – this is an obsolete tank model, which has been complained about throughout history due to poor cross-country ability, although the tank has good optics and electronics, it has extremely poor armor and weapons.
The weight of the tank is 65 tons, i.e. Ukaina will have problems both with the operation and maintenance of tanks – the rugged terrain in Ukraine is swamps and black soil, and the standard engineering vehicles of the Ukrainian army will not be able to fully service the challenger, because it is too thin. The same goes for leopards.
even the most modern Challenger shots are the level of 80s ammo from the USSR.
leopard can at least be equipped with DM53 / DM63 ammo
but the question of poor booking of early leopards remains (I don’t think that Poland will give Ukraine Leopard 2PL) But even the presence of modern tanks does not negate the overwhelming superiority of Russians in artillery.
So the transfer of NATO tanks to Ukraine can create a negative reputation for them and collapse the sale of heavy weapons – as expensive and inefficient – for example, the cost of a modern modification of the Leopard is approaching the cost of an attack helicopter.