Zelensky insists on his request to the West for more weapons for Ukraine

The prime minister says Poland can transfer German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine without permission from Berlin

Polish soldiers drive a Leopard tank during a live fire show as part of the Bear 22 military exercises at the Nowa Deba training range on September 21 in Nowa Deba, Poland. (Photo: Omar Marquis/Getty Images)

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Thursday that Poland will receive permission to transfer German-made tanks to Ukraine, “otherwise we will do the right thing ourselves.”

Any transfer of Leopard 2 main battle tanks usually requires permission from Berlin, as they are made in Germany.

Asked about Germany’s delay in granting permission for the transfer, Morawiecki said that Poland had offered Ukraine 14 main battle tanks.

“At the same time, we must make sure that others also meet these needs. Among those others, who have been less active so far are the Germans,” he said during a video interview after returning from the Davos International Economic Forum.

“We will continue our efforts and we will continue to pressure the Foreign Ministry and Germany to respond to our proposal as soon as possible,” he added.

Morawiecki was also asked if he expected a change after Boris Pistorius, who has called for the easing of sanctions against Russia, took over as German defense minister.

“This worries me a lot. I don’t know much about Germany’s new defense minister. What I do know worries me,” Morawiecki said.

Moravicki added that Pistorius should be given “a few days of time” to see “what his first steps will be”.

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“We agreed to deliver the tanks together,” he said. “Approval is secondary. Either we get that approval, or we’ll do the right thing ourselves.”

“The most important thing is that the Germans, the Danes, the Finns, the French and other countries provide their modern tanks and heavy equipment as soon as possible,” said Moravecki. “The ability to defend liberty in Ukraine, and thus the security of all of Europe, may depend on it.”

Poland has already sent 250 tanks to Ukraine, Morawiecki told CNN’s Richard Quest on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum on Wednesday.

“We were the first to introduce the Leopard tanks and now we encourage and inspire others, especially the Germans, to do their part,” he said.

“Now the Leopard tanks are the next round of our support for Ukraine. The most important thing is whether the Germans will finally bring their share of heavy artillery, especially heavy and modern tanks,” Moravecki said.

“And that is the main thing, because 14 out of 250 tanks is not a game-changer, but if France and in particular Germany and a few other countries contribute 20-30 tanks each, then yes it can make a difference. For Ukraine, ” he added.

Some context: Pressure is mounting on Western allies to supply heavy main battle tanks to Ukraine.

France, Poland and the United Kingdom have pledged to soon send main battle tanks to the Ukrainian army for use in its efforts to fend off Russia. Finland is considering following suit.

Germany said it would transfer infantry fighting vehicles to Kyiv, but has not yet committed to sending main battle tanks. Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz insisted that any such plan must be fully coordinated with all Western allies.

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