Poland Answers Ukraine’s Pleas for Western-Made Tanks, and Others May Follow
Poland said Wednesday it plans to transfer Leopard tanks to Ukraine. President Duda noted that the move would have to happen as part of an “international coalition.” The United Kingdom also signaled that it may send tanks to Kiev. Loading Something is loading.
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As NATO allies move to send armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine so it can fend off a Russian attack, Poland and the UK have signaled they could send Kiev a major item on the list. his wish – tanks.
Speaking in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Wednesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said “a Leopard tank company for Ukraine will be delivered” as part of an international coalition, adding that “such a decision is already in Poland.”
Duda told reporters at a press conference that the transfer of German-made battle tanks will require working through a formal process and procedures as part of a larger “international coalition.” He noted that Poland wants to offer Ukraine a first batch of tanks, which it hopes will be supplemented by additional deliveries from international partners, according to Ukraine’s state news agency Ukrinform.
In the UK, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has instructed the country’s defense chief Ben Wallace to “work with partners” in the coming weeks to “go even further and faster in our support for Ukraine, including the provision of tanks”. , a government. the spokesperson told Insider.
“We are accelerating our support to Ukraine with the kind of next-generation military technology that will win this war. It is clear that battle tanks can provide a game-changing capability for the Ukrainians,” the spokesman said, adding that Sunak told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last week that “the UK will provide everything we can”.
According to the Financial Times, the UK is ready to send its Challenger 2 main battle tank. However, the UK has yet to confirm this.
It was unclear exactly how many Leopard tanks Poland wants to send to Kiev, although Duda indicated it would be one company, which has 14 tanks in Poland. It also remains to be seen how Berlin will respond to Poland’s plans. The respective defense ministries of Germany and Poland did not immediately respond to The Insider’s requests for comment.
NATO allies France and Poland have pushed for Germany to send its fearsome Leopard tanks to Ukraine, hoping it would open the door for other countries to do the same, POLITICO reported earlier this week. . Finland, one of a number of countries with Leopard tanks in its arsenal and an aspiring NATO member, has indicated it plans to wait for a decision from Berlin or see if other countries move to transfer Leopards before undertaking a move. such a step.
The moves by Poland and Great Britain change the pressure to send Ukraine’s main battle tanks to Germany and other countries. A US official, however, told POLITICO that Washington has no immediate plans to provide Ukraine with the Abrams tanks that Kiev has requested.
—Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) January 11, 2023
Although there may still be obstacles to the transfer of Leopard tanks to Kiev, Duda’s announcement was praised by Ukraine, which has long sought the weapons to help it fend off Russia’s continued offensive. The Leopard-2, originally designed as a main battle tank in the 1970s, is equipped with a powerful 120 mm cannon, among other armaments.
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) January 11, 2023
Poland’s decision and the UK’s considerations come amid a massive push by Western countries and NATO allies to send more heavy armor to Ukraine.
Last week, the US, Germany and France said they planned to send Western-made armored vehicles to Ukraine for the first time since Russia’s full-scale invasion – giving Kiev significant firepower and boosting its capabilities. his ground combat.
In particular, the US will provide Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, while the Germans and French will send Marder combat vehicles and AMX-10 RC vehicles.
Heavy armor could facilitate potential breakthroughs as the devastating war in Ukraine has once again turned into a scrappy and slow-moving campaign, with fighting currently heavily concentrated around the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. US officials have described the fighting in the area as “really fierce and ferocious”.