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If Germany won’t play ball, then Poland will find other partners to deliver Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in pointed remarks accusing Berlin of foot-dragging in its support of Kyiv against invading Russian forces.
Poland is prepared to go around German opposition to build a “smaller coalition” of countries and find allies willing to send the tanks to Ukraine, Morawiecki said in an interview with the Polish Press Agency published on Sunday.
“We will not passively watch Ukraine bleed to death,” Morawiecki said.
His remarks come amid a heated debate over whether to send the German-made battle tanks to Ukraine. Kyiv has requested the weapons in order to renew its offensive against Russia in a push to reconquer captured territory.
Germany has expressed reluctance toward sending tanks without the U.S. doing the same, as it fears an escalation of the conflict. Berlin also holds a veto power over the re-export of the weapons from any of its allies. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has denied blocking any deliveries.
“We are in very close dialogue on this issue with our international partners, above all with the U.S.,” Pistorius, who took up the defense post last week, said in an interview with Bild published on Sunday.
Morawiecki has previously said that he was ready to go ahead with Leopard deliveries even without Berlin’s approval.
“Since Minister Pistorius denies that Germany is blocking the supply of tanks to Ukraine, I would like to hear a clear declaration that Berlin supports sending them,” the prime minister told the Polish Press Agency.
“The war is here and now. … Do the Germans want to keep them in storage until Russia defeats Ukraine and is knocking on Berlin’s door?” Morawiecki said.
Political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko said in a statement that Germany was edging towards allowing the tanks to be sent — and advised “patience and perseverance.” But the broader takeaway was that Ukraine had to rebuild its own armaments industry in order to not have to only rely on help from abroad in the future, he added.