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.
‘Put-ler’ placards greet Lavrov on South African trip
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was greeted by protesters as he began a controversial trip to South Africa.
Placards depicting Russia’s president Vladimir Putin as Nazi leader Adolf Hitler were brandished as Mr Lavrov visited his opposite number Naledi Pandor in Pretoria.
The minister hopes to strengthen ties with the African nation, which has stayed neutral over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He repeated disputed claims that the West blocked peace talks soon after the
war began. Russia has refused to pull out its troops as a condition for negotiations.
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