Germany “will not stand in the way” of a Polish request to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, the country’s Foreign Minister said on Sunday.

 

Speaking after a Franco-German summit meeting in Paris, Annalena Baerbock said Poland was yet to make a formal request, despite indicating publicly that they would be willing to do so.

 

"If we are asked the question, then we will not stand in the way," she told LCI television.

 

"We know how important these tanks are and this is why we are discussing this now with our partners.

 

“We need to make sure people's lives are saved and Ukraine's territory liberated."

 

The comments signal a shift in Germany’s position after last week’s Ramstein meeting during which no decision on sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine was reached.

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Berlin has resisted pressure from Kyiv to send some of its own stocks of the battle tanks to Ukraine, while Poland has announced it is ready to deliver 14 Leopards.

 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he was waiting for "a clear statement" from Berlin whether countries that have the Leopards can transfer them to Ukraine.

 

He also described Germany's refusal to send its own tanks to Ukraine as "unacceptable."

 

"Innocent people are dying every day," AFP reports.

 

In a joint statement on Saturday, the foreign ministers of the three Baltic states urged Germany "to provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine now."

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday there was "no alternative" but for the West to give Ukraine heavy tanks.

 

Reports earlier in the week indicated Germany would agree to do so only if the U.S. provided its tanks as well. Washington has said providing its Abrams tanks to Ukraine is not feasible, citing difficulties in training and maintenance.

 

According to military analysts, the Leopard 2 is probably the best choice of NATO main battle tanks that could be used to equip the Ukrainian army.

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Over the years, Germany has sold thousands of them across the world and many of them are currently sitting unused in countries like Poland that want to send them to Ukraine, but haven’t been able to do so because they need German permission to do so.

 

Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Ukraine’s western allies have been cautious about which weapons systems it sends to Kyiv for fear of escalating the conflict with Russia beyond Ukraine’s borders.

 

Earlier this month, the U.K. opened the gate for supplies of heavy tanks after announcing it would send 14 Challenger 2 vehicles.

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