Russia Ukraine War
FILE - A Leopard 2 tank is pictured during a demonstration event held for the media by the German Bundeswehr in Munster near Hannover, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011. Poland will apply to the German government for permission to supply the German-made Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)
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Poland pushes for more tanks for Kyiv; will seek German OK

56 Comments
By MONIKA SCISLOWSKA

Poland said Monday it would ask Berlin for permission to send German-built Leopard tanks to Ukraine as the government in Warsaw pushes its Western allies to move faster on supplying Kyiv with more military hardware to thwart Russia’s invasion.

Germany has hesitated over sending tanks to Ukraine. But Polish officials took heart from remarks Sunday by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock that Berlin wouldn't seek to stop Poland from providing Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki didn’t specify when the request to Germany will be made. He said that Poland is building a coalition of nations ready to send Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.

Poland needs the consent of Germany, which builds the tanks, to send them to a non-NATO country.

But even if there is no permission from Germany, Warsaw will make its own decisions, Morawiecki said at a news conference.

Poland has become a leading advocate in the European Union for giving Ukraine the military aid that could help it prevail over the Kremlin’s invading forces 11 months after the war began. Germany’s hesitation has drawn criticism, particularly from Poland and the Baltic countries on NATO’s eastern flank that feel especially threatened by Russia’s renewed aggression.

Although Berlin has provided substantial aid, it has been criticized for dragging its feet on providing military hardware.

German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said it was important for Germany not to take a “reckless” step it might regret, adding that a decision will not be rushed.

“These are hard questions of life and death,” he added. “We have to ask what this means for the defense of our own country.”

Pressed on how long a decision on sending tanks might take, Hebestreit said: “I assume that it’s not a question of months now.”

The Ukrainian government says that tanks, and especially the Leopards, are vital to Kyiv.

Previously, Polish officials have indicated that Finland and Denmark were ready to join Warsaw in sending Leopards to Ukraine. The United Kingdom has pledged to send some of its Challenger tanks. French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday he doesn't rule out sending Leclerc battle tanks to Ukraine and had asked his defense minister to “work on” the idea.

But Macron said a decision hinged on three criteria that have also weighed on the minds of other Western leaders: that sharing the equipment doesn't lead to an escalation of the conflict; that it would provide efficient and workable help when training time is taken into account; and that it wouldn’t weaken his own military.

Morawiecki said that while Poland intends to ask Germany for permission to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, the request is “a secondary matter” as a group of EU countries look at how to help Kyiv.

“Even if, eventually, we do not get this permission, we — within this small coalition — even if Germany is not in this coalition, we will hand over our tanks, together with the others, to Ukraine,” he said.

Morawiecki said talks have also been held “with our partners in Brussels” on the subject, referring to the 27-nation EU.

“Naturally, these are not easy talks, but we will be taking efforts to break this barrier of unwillingness in various countries,” he said.

Baerbock, Germany's top diplomat, told French television channel LCI on Sunday that Poland hasn't formally asked for Berlin’s approval to share some of its Leopards, but added “if we were asked, we would not stand in the way.”

Regarding Baerbock’s comments, Morawiecki said that “exerting pressure makes sense” and that her words are a “spark of hope” that Germany may even take part in the coalition.

Baerbock “sent a different message that offers a spark of hope that not only Germany will no longer block, but maybe finally will offer heavy, modern equipment in support of Ukraine,” Morawiecki said.

“We are constantly exerting pressure on the government in Berlin to make its Leopards available,” he told reporters in the western city of Poznan.

According to Morawiecki, Germany has “more than 350 active Leopards and about 200 in storage.”

Poland wants to send a company of Leopard tanks, which means 14 of them, but they would barely make an impression in a war that involves thousands of tanks. If other countries contribute, Warsaw reckons, the tank detachment could grow to a much bigger brigade size.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the latest developments on sending Western Europe tanks to Ukraine “signaled increasing nervousness among members of the alliance.”

In interview clips posted by LCI, Baerbock said German officials “know how important these tanks are” and “this is why we are discussing this now with our partners.”

Ukraine’s supporters pledged billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine during a meeting Friday at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. International defense leaders discussed Ukraine’s urgent request for the Leopard 2 tanks, and the absence of an agreement overshadowed new military commitments.

Germany is one of the main donors of weapons to Ukraine, and it ordered a review of its Leopard 2 stocks in preparation for a possible green light. Nonetheless, Berlin has shown caution at each step of increasing its aid to Ukraine, a hesitancy seen as rooted in its history and political culture.

Moscow, in response to the pledges of sophisticated Western weapons for Kyiv’s military, has stepped up its warnings that escalation risks catastrophe.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reaffirmed Moscow’s claim the Western supplies could lead to “unpredictable” consequences.

“We have said on numerous occasions that escalation is the most dangerous path, and the consequences may be unpredictable,” Ryabkov said. “Our signals are not listened to, and Russia’s adversaries keep raising the stakes.”

With both sides’ battlefield positions mostly deadlocked during winter, the Kremlin’s forces have kept up their bombardments of Ukrainian areas.

Kharkiv Gov. Oleh Synyehubov said Russian forces shelled several towns and villages in the northeastern region in the previous 24 hours, killing a 67-year-old woman and leaving another resident wounded.

Neither side shows signs of backing down as the war heads for a second year.

The Kremlin appears to be keeping its options open on mobilizing more soldiers. Russian authorities declared that the mobilization of an additional 300,000 reservists in late October is complete. However, some Russian lawyers and rights groups pointed out that Putin’s mobilization decree remains in effect until another presidential decree is issued to formally end the action.

Peskov said Monday although the assigned number of reservists have been mobilized, the decree remains in force because it also includes “other measures needed to ensure the fulfillment of tasks by the military.” He didn’t elaborate.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly warned of Russia’s plans to continue mobilizing more troops.

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©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.


56 Comments

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Why is the content of NATO meetings being released to the global public?

Wouldn't it be smarter to keep the Russians in the dark about what is being sent and what isn't?

Not only can the Russians prepare for the equipment deliveries but they can exploit divisions between NATO members because it's openly announced to the world that Germany is disagreeing with other members.

All this information is valuable to the Russians.

Can't NATO hold closed door meetings?

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

Leopards have already been spotted on the territory of Ukraine. but one small observation: some of these tanks go directly to the repair workshops :) Why are you sending junk to Ukrs? you are scattering words of love for Ukraine here, but are sending trash.

-18 ( +3 / -21 )

Germany has hesitated over sending tanks to Ukraine. But Polish officials took heart from remarks Sunday by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock that Berlin wouldn't seek to stop Poland from providing Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.

Poland has a big incentive to arm Ukraine. If Ukraine falls, Poland has a land border with Putin.

It will happen. Germany will allow Leopard II's to be given to Ukraine, and then they will send some of their own.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

The Poles told Germany " You can give us your blessing or we can send them anyway."

So Germany is now most likely going to say OK.

Given the stocks of NATO members not directly on the front lines, this could amount to hundreds of modern MBTs that are more reliable, have better protection and far better targeting systems than the junk the Russians have (and with which the UA has been making do).

Unlike the Russians desalination p!an for a salt mine or its targeting of civilians, this would actually have a strategic impact on the battlefield.

Wagner group might need a lot more cannon fodder...

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Bronco

Why is the content of NATO meetings being released to the global public?

Wouldn't it be smarter to keep the Russians in the dark about what is being sent and what isn't?

No.

Not only can the Russians prepare for the equipment deliveries

Russia can't just build a heap of T-90 tanks in response.

but they can exploit divisions between NATO members because it's openly announced to the world that Germany is disagreeing with other members.

No, they can't. Russia have already made their threats and Germany is still coming around to giving the go ahead.

Kuku

Leopards have already been spotted on the territory of Ukraine. but one small observation: some of these tanks go directly to the repair workshops

Most likely maintenance training.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

As for the American and German tanks, the concerns about training, logistics and theater of combat are very real but the biggest concern is how it will look to show "the best, invincible tanks" destroyed and on fire by the 10s or 100s. However many they send and however many of those venture to the front. The British don't really have to worry about that because no one buy their tanks other than the British themselves.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

Russia can't just build a heap of T-90 tanks in response.

Already has in anticipation.

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

Russia can't just build a heap of T-90 tanks in response.

It's not 1943. The age of grand tank battles has long been over.

A 19 year-old separatist with his smartphone in his living room can take out a tank with a drone.

On the modern battlefield these things are mobile coffins.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

Poland has not learned the historic lessons of going against Russia, Germany learned the lessons of Kursk and knows that it would be very expensive for any country to go against Russia..

-13 ( +7 / -20 )

It's not 1943. The age of grand tank battles has long been over.

A 19 year-old separatist with his smartphone in his living room can take out a tank with a drone.

On the modern battlefield these things are mobile coffins.

There are many videos on Telegram of the much vaunted "Switchblades" bouncing right off Russian tanks. Even Russian drones typically burn the tank but the Nasties inside can get out and scurry to safety.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

It's not 1943. The age of grand tank battles has long been over.

In large part due to the battle of 73 Easting in 91 where and advance detachment of M1s and M2s encountered and destroyed a much larger force of the best the Soviets had to offer (the same junk the Russians use now) with not a single loss of their own.

So a better statement would be "the age of grand Russian tank battles has long been over."

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Russia can't just build a heap of T-90 tanks in response.

Already has in anticipation.

Yeah, this is not true.

Russia can repair the damaged tanks it hasn't abandoned now, much less produce new ones in mass.

Maybe that's why the Russians are taking their T-62s out of museums and sending them to Ukraine. Had you not noticed that or did it just not fit in with your narrative?

And the T-90 has proven to be nothing more than a more expensive mobile crematorium for its crews than the T-72.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Bronco

Russia can't just build a heap of T-90 tanks in response.

It's not 1943. The age of grand tank battles has long been over.

Sure. That's why they need modern tanks.

A 19 year-old separatist with his smartphone in his living room can take out a tank with a drone.

On the modern battlefield these things are mobile coffins.

Sure, those old tanks, but some of these modern tanks, including the T-90, are more resilient.

And, in Ukraine, tanks are a necessary, part of an invasion.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

I think the Poles learned some rather important historical lessons. Namely:

Russians can't be trusted not to invade Poland on any excuse they can think of.

It's better to be part of a collective defense organization. For all the tough talk of its fan bois, Russia isn't going to do d in regards to "teaching Poland a lesson" as long ads NATO remains strong.

Poland assisting other democracies defend themselves from Russian aggression is the same thing as defending Poland from Russian aggression.

So I guess Poland DID learn historical lessons from the Soviet invasion, division, and occupation, eh?

8 ( +12 / -4 )

TokyoLiving

Poland has not learned the historic lessons of going against Russia, Germany learned the lessons of Kursk and knows that it would be very expensive for any country to go against Russia..

Poland aren't going against, Russia, just like Ukraine isn't. Russia is going against Ukraine, and Poland would be next. Which is why they want to give Ukraine tanks.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

There are many videos on Telegram of the much vaunted "Switchblades" bouncing right off Russian tanks.

There are far fewer videos of Javelin missiles turning Russian junk into molten coffins for obvious PR reasons...

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Poland has a big incentive to arm Ukraine

Most Poles probably are well aware of the last time an invading, fascist regime was appeased, and also what life was like under the USSR and will do whatever it takes to prevent Putin's regime that seems to want to re-establish the USSR in all lands previously controlled from Moscow, from having any more control. Only the most extreme anti-westerners may want to see a newer version of fascism anywhere outside the current fascist state's borders.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Poland has ordered 100s of Black Panther tanks from South Korea, Abrams, the Leopards are surplus for them. Poland is increasing its military budget to 5% GDP in the expectation of a Russian attack. They would rather a cushion between The Nazi invaders and themselves. But a cushion they can re enforce.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

There are far fewer videos of Javelin missiles turning Russian junk into molten coffins for obvious PR reasons...

There was also video of them but they mostly left the theater of combat several months ago. Too expensive and too few to only leave a dent and scorch mark on the tank.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

...think the Poles learned some rather important historical lessons. Namely:... and so on

> Mr Nemo, I'm terribly sorry. are you composing this nonsense yourself so quickly? Or are you copying from а training manual? Your Poles they do not learn lessons, but already stamp maps on which Lviv is depicted as Polish territory. The weather forecast on TV is proof of that. They deriban Western Ukraine!

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

No one has attacked Russia. Russia on the other hand....

If Russia does not like this, Russia can simply exit Ukraine. Every day this war continues is due to Russia deciding this war should continue another day. Every dead person in this conflict is dead because of Russia's aggression. They started it, and they continue it. They need to end it.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Why is the content of NATO meetings being released to the global public?

This is not hard to understand. The public institutions of elected representative governments are expected to be transparent.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

It's not 1943. The age of grand tank battles has long been over.

Some of the largest armored battles ever fought were fought in Israel and Iraq long after WWII. High speed combined arms mechanized warfare is the gold standard. High quality tanks are a major part of that.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Finally, Germany and Poland stepping up, long overdo, let’s hope they do more.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

And the T-90 has proven to be nothing more than a more expensive mobile crematorium for its crews than the T-72.

The T-90 was originally supposed to be called the T-72BM, an upgrade to the original T-72 with a fire control from the T-80 and some hull, armor and automotive upgrades. The miserable performance of T-72s during Desert Storm caused the Russians to rename the T-72BM the T-90. Branding matters it seems! But the reality is the T-90 is just a tarted up T-72 with all of the same inherent weaknesses.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

DT - it may be a little harder to understand for those who don't live in such a system or grow up in one. A Russian friend from b-school (Anti-Putin btw, even 10 years ago, so I know they exist) wondered why we had homeless people in my city and asked me sincerely why the government allowed these people on the streets and why we didn't just put them into camps. I remember analogous situations when I lived in Japan decades back.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The Poles basically backed Germany into a corner by threatening to hand some of their Leopard 2s over to Ukraine with our without the German's blessing. Bless the Poles for having the guts to do that! They broke the logjam. Now Ukraine will receive some serious armored firepower.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

The reason Putin is still standing, because of the dysfunctional nature of NATO European members, running their mouth after the US already made a decision,that Ukrainain will not be a part of NATO

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

@Kuku - Do you disagree with Putin on how he has conducted this SMO?

He has been conducting, to the point....Mistakes were made. But they are already being corrected. It's not evening yet. Remember how Putin said we haven't started yet? It was a warm-up

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

can't say Kuku is part of the Kremlin propaganda machine, but the thing Kuku posts are pretty much the same as that put out by the Kremlin propaganda machine.

Why not, Stranger?

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Poland has not learned the historic lessons of going against Russia, Germany learned the lessons of Kursk and knows that it would be very expensive for any country to go against Russia..

Hmm, the Poles, sandwiched between two giants, Germany and Russia, are more than obsessed by the lessons of history, which is why using German tanks as a cat's paw to poke the bullyboy Russian Bear will give them a huge shot of schadenfreude.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

This must make Mr. Putin ... sad. ;-((

5 ( +7 / -2 )

A Russian friend from b-school (Anti-Putin btw, even 10 years ago, so I know they exist) wondered why we had homeless people in my city and asked me sincerely why the government allowed these people on the streets and why we didn't just put them into camps.

The Eastern European nations used to have these horrible orphanages and mental hospitals where patients were systematically neglected.

We used to have mental hospitals for people with mental health problems who could not take care of themselves, but Ronnie Ray-gun emptied the state hospitals in California and closed them. The neighborhood centers that were supposed to be built to provide services for the mentally ill were never funded so many if not most ended up on the streets or a prison cell.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The Poles think German owe them trillion of dollars in reparation, Google Poland German Reparations

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

The German Leopard tanks are very impressive.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Germany learned the lessons of Kursk 

An armored engagement the size of Kursk will not happen in this war. If the battlefield expands, maybe. However, it won’t - can’t - be fought the same way. Vulnerability from the air is too great.

The “lessons” the Germans learned was to not invade a country with so little and so poor transportation infrastructure with so little appropriate transport for resupply.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Wouldn't it be smarter to keep the Russians in the dark about what is being sent and what isn't?

why, you make it sound like Russia hasnt any spies in foreign countries, tanks arent something that can be easily disguised and smuggled into another country,.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

They are asking for permission from Germany, while now they are asking South American countries to sell their Russian weapons to the US so they can send them to Ukraine.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Yes would better to be quiet about what is being sent by whom.

But then the virtue signaling from the giver is lost as well as the Zelensky opportunity to criticize others for not giving the same or more.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Yes would better to be quiet about what is being sent by whom.

Perhaps, but I do know that the push is for more transparency and accountability for how our tax dollars are being spent, so I see this trend towards openness increasing for right or wrong.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

yes its hard for warmongers to to hear about peace.and ist also hard to admit that this wont be solved by any military solution incl sending of NATO weaponry to UA.

very sad to see that if you support war its OK and if you are against war its..."off topic".

west do grave mistake as seems still underestimates Russia and its nation.pidarasi.

Russia will prevail at the end.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Blacklabel - certainly not a joke to McGonigal who may be looking at decades in prison according to that article. It seems like we may be serious in holding scofflaws to account. Thanks for sharing.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Eastman - Putin seemed to think that there was a military solution when he invaded Ukraine. Has he changed his mind now?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Thanks for sharing.

yeah, but that is not to be discussed as it’s inconvenient to a narrative that sanctions are working.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

It’s just a childish game right now. If the US tells Germany it’s ok then Germany won’t tell Poland to give the tanks but wont stop them if they choose to. But then Poland will say they did it with the approval of Germany and the USA and those aren’t Polish tanks.

why are they so afraid of the sockless and blanketless Russian army that they each have to pretend the other gave the weapons?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Poland and any country willing to asist should go ahead with the delivery - with or without Germany's approval to end this insane aggressor's war!

Don't wait too long, because this will only give PUTAin the chance to mobilize his last reserves and kill more innocent people! Every day wasted is a life lost for Ukraine!

Ukraine prevails!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Blacklabel - the fact that these guys got popped implies that the sanctions are being enforced (at least in the US), no? But yes, we shouldn't be afraid to hold sanction-breakers to account. Accountability is key and these kinds of things need to be publicly seen.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What would the difference be if they give it with or without Germany's approval

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Accountability is key and these kinds of things need to be publicly seen.

Speak that truth, my man. Preach.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

What would the difference be if they give it with or without Germany's approval

Just whose energy supply Russia immediately cuts off.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Just whose energy supply Russia immediately cuts off.

Then the US should have no problems giving the tanks

0 ( +2 / -2 )

But the US has no German tanks.

but they have been asked to send Stacey Abrams instead.

Germany won’t do anything that has any direct consequences for themselves or their people. Smart.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

But Macron said a decision hinged on three criteria that have also weighed on the minds of other Western leaders: that sharing the equipment doesn't lead to an escalation of the conflict

Sharing the equipment is an escalation so it will most probably lead to more escalations

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

But the US has no German tanks.

but they have been asked to send Stacey Abrams instead

Of course.

And if they do, Germany will follow suit

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They cannot not do it now can they?

So best way I think isbfor all of them to send at the same time.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Blacklabel

But the US has no German tanks.

but they have been asked to send Stacey Abrams instead.

Germany won’t do anything that has any direct consequences for themselves or their people. Smart.

Just watch. Soon, they will allow all Leopard 2 tanks to be delivered to Ukraine. And then they will offer some of their own surplus Leopard 2 tanks.

The take their time, but they will get around to it. And it is financially prudent to do so. If they don't allow Leopard 2 tanks to be delivered to Ukraine, nobody will want to buy more. And we know that Poland is in the market for a heap of new tanks.

It will benefit German citizens that Germany will be selling a lot of tanks in the future.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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