Berlin won’t object it if Poland supplies Leopards to Kiev, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said
Germany would not block Poland from sending the Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the country’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said on Sunday. The top diplomat made the remarks in an interview with the French broadcaster LCI.
Asked what exactly Berlin plans to do should Poland send the tanks from its inventory to Ukraine without German approval, the minister said the country would not actually object but greenlight such a move. Baerbock also claimed Warsaw has not reached Berlin on the matter altogether yet.
“For the moment the question has not been asked, but if we were asked we would not stand in the way,” she stated. “We know how important these tanks are and this is why we are discussing this now with our partners.”
Baerbock’s words have signaled an apparent change of heart on the issue, as Berlin has been reluctant to supply the German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev – as well as to allow other nations to do so. At a meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group on Friday, Germany reiterated its unwillingness to send the tanks of the type to the country, while failing to authorize other states to deliver them to Kiev’s forces.
Earlier this month, Berlin explicitly warned countries operating the Leopards that any deliveries of the tanks to Ukraine without German authorization would be “illegal.”
The stance angered Germany’s fellow NATO and EU member Poland, with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki threatening creation of a “smaller coalition” to facilitate the looming handover of the German-made tanks to Ukraine. The PM also urged Berlin not to “weaken or sabotage the activities of other countries.”
January 23, 2023 at 03:52AM