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Poland Prepared To Give Ukraine Leopard Tanks As Part Of Coalition

By RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service January 11, 2023

Poland is ready to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine as part of a coalition, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced on January 11 after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

Kyiv has been requesting heavy military vehicles such as the German-made Leopard 2, a tank that Ukraine says is critical for the land battle in the Donbas region.

Warsaw is willing to deliver Leopard tanks "within the framework of an international coalition," Duda said at a joint news conference after a meeting of the heads of state of the Lublin Triangle regional forum.

"We made a decision to transfer such support to Ukraine from Poland. A company of Leopard tanks will be provided as part of the coalition," Duda said. "It is necessary to obtain official consent and build an international coalition. We decided to form it. The first Leopard group, together with other types of tanks, will hopefully be provided by other countries very soon to strengthen Ukraine's defense capabilities."

Zelenskiy applauded the move but said he was expecting "a common decision" involving other countries willing to send the advanced Leopard battle tanks.

"One state alone cannot help us," he said.

"I think today there will be a positive [decision] from another state to supply us with modern Western-style tanks," Zelenskiy added without naming the country.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on January 9 that he remained convinced of the need to coordinate weapons deliveries to Ukraine with allies.

A German government spokesman said on January 11 that it was not aware of any requests from its allies to send Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, according to Reuters.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock during a visit to the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on January 10 promised that Germany would send more weapons to Ukraine, but she did not specify which ones. Berlin last week pledged to send infantry fighting vehicles that Ukraine had been asking for.

Speaking at the joint news conference, Nauseda said Lithuania would transfer air defense systems and antiaircraft guns to Ukraine.

The heads of state of Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania also discussed Ukraine's prospects for membership in the European Union and candidacy for NATO.

The Lublin Triangle was created by the foreign ministers of the three countries in July 2020 to coordinate actions for the protection of international law and security.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-poland- leopard-tanks-coalition-duda/32219197.html

Copyright (c) 2023. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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