Poland said Tuesday that it will send 10 Leopard tanks to Ukraine this week, offering more of the vehicles that Kyiv says are crucial to countering Russia's invasion.
Poland had promised to ship a total of 14 German-made Leopard 2 heavy tanks to Kyiv, with the first four already delivered in late February, on the first anniversary of Russia's offensive in Ukraine.
"Poland already this week will deliver to Ukraine 10 Leopard 2A4 tanks," Mariusz Blaszczak told reporters in Warsaw before flying to Stockholm for a meeting of EU defence ministers.
Blaszczak also said Poland would set up a service hub for the battle tanks used in Ukraine.
"We are ready to launch a service hub in Poland that will repair and service the Leopard tanks delivered to Ukraine," Blaszczak said, adding that he would raise the issue in his talks with the German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius.
"The fundamental issue that we will discuss is the low availability of spare parts for Leopard tanks," Blaszczak said.
"I expect of minister (Boris) Pistorius that he influences the German industry, so that the spare parts to the Leopards are delivered," Polish minister added.
Poland was spearheading efforts to send the modern Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, with Germany initially resisting the pressure from allies to authorise the move.
Early this year, Berlin agreed to send its own Leopards and greenlighted the deliveries from other countries which included Poland, Sweden, Finland and Portugal.
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