Poland still hopes for deal on tanks for Ukraine

2023-01-20 19:41 update: 2023-01-22, 10:27
Poland still believes it will be able to convince German partners to supply Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine after no decision on the matter was reached at a Friday meeting of allies at Germany's Ramstein Air Base, a deputy foreign minister has said.

Pawel Jablonski echoed the Polish defence minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, who took part in a meeting of defence leaders from around 50 countries and Nato who gathered in Ramstein to discuss military aid for Kyiv as part of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group.

After the talks, chaired by United States Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, Blaszczak said he was hopeful that efforts to provide Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine would end in success. 

"Hope stems from the fact that defence ministers from 15 countries met on the sidelines of today's conference and we talked about this topic," he told a press conference in Ramstein. 

Several European allies have asked Germany to grant export permission for other countries to donate their own German-made Leopards to help Ukraine fight against Russia's invasion.

But after the meeting in Ramstein, Germany's new defence mnister, Boris Pistorius, said that the issue of Germany allowing the export of Leopard 2 tanks had been discussed but no decision had been made.

He added that the pros and cons of such deliveries should be weighed very carefully.

Blaszczak, the Polish defence minister, told reporters that "Minister Pistorius said that it was his second day as the German defence minister so he was not able to present a conclusion yet, but I am convinced that coalition building will end in success."

After the news briefing, the Polish and German defence ministers met to talk about Leopards. 

Commenting on the Blaszczak-Pistorius meeting, Jablonski, a Polish deputy foreign minister, told PAP that it was "another step towards the goal."

"We want all those who can to hand over their battle tanks to Ukraine. Germany should give permission for this and should also hand over those tanks from its own resources," he said. 

Jablonski added that Poland is ready "to take non-standard actions to ensure that Germany decides to transfer Leopards to Ukraine."

"Regardless of today's position of Germany, we will continue diplomatic work to bring this about," he said. (PAP)