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Poland will send Leopard tanks to Ukraine


Enrique Serpeto

01/11/2023

Updated at 8:22 p.m.

Yesterday, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced that he was preparing to send modern Leopard combat tanks to Ukraine, although Russia considers it a qualitative escalation in the degree of European participation in the war.

For this reason, Duda said he wanted to do it “within an alliance” with other countries, especially Germany, which manufactures these vehicles and should allow them to be transferred to third countries. This was announced by Duda yesterday after his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda in Lviv, western Ukraine.

Ukraine has insistently requested heavy military vehicles such as the Leopard, which it considers essential weapons for land battles in the Donbass region. “We made a decision to supply Ukraine with Leopard tanks from Poland as part of the alliance,” Duda said yesterday at the joint press conference after the meeting, although “it is necessary to obtain official approval and build an international alliance.”

In any case, the Poles insisted, “It is expected that the first Leopard set, along with other types of tanks, will be supplied by other countries very soon to enhance Ukraine’s defense capabilities.”

To date, Ukraine has received tanks of Russian origin like those they used to drive and which were in service in Eastern European countries. Recently, Germany, the United States and France sent armored infantry vehicles with Western technology, but the step of supplying the Ukrainian army with heavy tanks such as the Leopard was not taken, because this implies a greater military involvement of the coalition and more specifically Germany, which does not want to take this step alone .

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For now, France and Poland are pressuring Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz to agree to send his powerful main battle tank, bearing in mind that the UK for its part is already planning the delivery of at least a dozen of its ‘competitors’.

In NATO, it is considered that if Russia is going to launch a new offensive now, supplying modern Western tanks such as the Leopard will be a crucial element in containing it. Berlin’s decision could be taken at the next Franco-German summit on January 22. In Poland there are about 250 Leopards of various versions, all purchased from Germany.



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