FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (C) welcomes Polish President Andrzej Duda (R) as Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda looks on, in Lviv, Ukraine, January 11, 2023. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
WARSAW, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Germany’s approval for the re-export of Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine is of secondary importance, as Poland could send such tanks as part of a coalition of countries even without its permission, it said on Monday Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
The United States and its allies failed to convince Berlin last week to provide its Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine, a key demand by kyiv as it tries to reinvigorate its fight against Russian forces.
Poland is pushing for countries that have German-made Leopards to send them to Ukraine, even if Germany doesn’t want to join them.
“We will ask for that permission, but it is a matter of secondary importance. Even if we did not get this approval… we would continue to transfer our tanks along with others to Ukraine,” Morawiecki told reporters.
“The condition for us right now is to build at least a small coalition of countries.”
Germany would not stand in the way if Poland sent its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in an interview on French LCI television on Sunday.
“The pressure makes sense, because this weekend, the German foreign minister sent a slightly different message that gives a glimmer of hope that not only will Germany not block (tank shipments), but will eventually deliver heavy equipment. , modern equipment to help Ukraine,” said Morawiecki.
(Reporting by Pawel Florkiewicz and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Spanish editing by Flora Gómez)
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