Kyiv allies to roll out tanks without German approval

A German Leopard 2 tank during a Nato exercise (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Poland’s prime minister has said he intends to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine – whether or not Berlin agrees.

Mateusz Morawiecki said he would ask permission to re-export them to his country’s neighbour.

But he added: ‘Even if we did not get this approval, we would still transfer our tanks together with others to Ukraine. The condition for us at the moment is to build at least a small coalition of countries.’

German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock has said it would not block Poland sending its Leopards to help Ukraine counter Russia’s invasion.

But she declined to elaborate yesterday, saying only that it was important to ‘do everything we can to defend Ukraine’.

Germany has laws that require buyers of its tanks to seek approval for re-export. It is yet to send any to Ukraine directly and faced pressure not to stand in the way of other countries as EU foreign ministers met in Brussels to discuss an extra £440million of aid for Kyiv.

Ukraine and Russia are said to be planning spring offensives to break the deadlock in the war.

German leader Olaf Scholz’s party has argued the West should avoid escalating the war but allies believe Russia is committed to its assault. Latvia’s foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics said ‘there are no good arguments’ for not providing tanks.

Britain has said it will supply 14 Challenger 2s and French president Emmanuel Macron has not ruled out sending Leclerc tanks. The Kremlin said the splits showed increasing ‘nervousness’ within Nato.

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