Russia-Ukraine war: Poland asks German permission to send tanks

Tuesday, 24 January 2023 (21:47 IST)
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on Tuesday said his country had officially requested permission from Germany to transfer its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to help repel Russia's invasion.
Berlin is under pressure to supply state-of-the-art Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, or at least to sign off on delivery of the German-made heavy armor from third-party countries.
"The Germans have already received our request for consent to the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine," Blaszczak tweeted.
"I also appeal to the German side to join the coalition of countries supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. This is our common cause because it is about the security of the whole of Europe!''
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki later said he would ask the European Union to reimburse the cost of the tanks, which he called "another test of good will."
The German government confirmed it had received the request, with a spokesperson saying, "We will treat the proceedings with the urgency they deserve."
Later it was announced that a decision on authorizing export would come "shortly," and allies were encouraged to start training Ukrainian forces to use the tanks.
Still, Berlin stopped short of granting permission for the transfer, instead saying a decision was imminent.
The announcement was made not long after German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Tuesday morning that Berlin still had yet to decide on the delivery of combat tanks to Ukraine. 
"There is no news that I can deliver at this point. I have said that shortly a decision will be made and I can only assume that will be the case," Pistorius told reporters.
Pistorius said Germany had no objection to the training of Ukrainian soldiers on its Leopard vehicles but did not say that Germany had yet agreed to allow their deployment.
However, he did say Berlin would act quickly if there was a positive decision to do so.
Pistorius, who was appointed defense minister last week after the resignation of his predecessor Christine Lambrecht, has previously said any decision must come from the office of Chancellor Olaf Scholz. 
Pistorius was facing reporters in Berlin alongside NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who called for providing more advanced systems to Ukraine.
"I, therefore, welcome our discussion today," Stoltenberg said. "We discussed the issue of battle tanks. Consultations among allies will continue and I'm confident we will have a solution soon."

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