11 JANUARY 2023
After his visit to the Ukrainian city of Lviv Andrzej Duda, President of Poland, explained his decision to hand a company of Western-made Leopard 2 tanks over to Ukraine.
Duda reiterated that Warsaw would provide Kyiv with Western-produced tanks as part of the international coalition.
“Our goal on an international level is to integrate more countries into this coalition for them to make their contribution by providing Ukraine with tanks, so that a larger tank unit can be created,” Duda explained.
“A company is a small, I’d even say symbolic unit but if there are more such companies, then a brigade combat group or an even larger military unit will be created which will really be of great military significance in the defence of Ukraine, and this is what we want to achieve”, he stated.
He expressed his hope that such a formation equipped in accordance with NATO standards would be able to create “a serious blockade, an iron wall for the Russian aggression against Ukraine.”
As it was reported earlier, following his visit to Lviv and meeting with his Ukrainian and Lithuanian counterparts, Duda announced that Poland would provide Ukraine with a company of Leopard 2 tanks which may consist of up to 10-14 units. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, hinted that another country may follow the example of Poland.
Background: Gitanas Nauseda, the President of Lithuania, and Andrzej Duda, the President of Poland, visited Ukraine unannounced and have already met their Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Lviv, as part of the Lublin Triangle coalition.
Ukraine is particularly interested in receiving the Leopard 2 tanks since there are over 2000 of them in Europe and they are in service in 13 countries. Berlin’s permission is needed for their re-export, but Germany is concerned about the risk that the conflict may escalate.
Olaf Scholz, the chancellor of Germany, stated on Monday, 9 January that he is convinced that supplying Ukraine with arms requires coordination with allies, not independent decisions.