German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s remains sceptical of demands to supply Kiev
Poland is encouraging other countries to form a broad coalition to supply modern battle tanks, such as the Leopard, to Ukraine, Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski and other officials told Polish public radio on Monday.
“The matter is in flux. The first thing is to find out what our allies in Western countries will do,” Jakub Kumoch, security adviser to President Andrzej Duda, told Radio Zet.
Poland could be part of such a coalition, but won’t make a move alone because it is not in a position to do so, he said.
Kumoch described reports that Warsaw was ready to hand over a few hundred or even all of its Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine as “disinformation.” At most, he said, the debate was about “a few or a dozen pieces.” The National Security Council will discuss the issue with Duda among others late Monday, he said.
Following the German government’s decision to supply Ukraine with some 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, officials are also continuing to debate whether to supply battle tanks.
On Saturday the co-leader of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party said he remains sceptical of demands to supply Kiev with Leopard battle tanks without coordination among NATO allies.
“No country is delivering battle tanks that are as heavy as the Leopard 1 or 2,” Lars Klingbeil said in an interview with RTL/ntv on Saturday.
The Germans are sending the Marders, an infantry fighting vehicle and a Patriot missile battery after spending months resisting the appeal from Kiev.
The announcement was made last week in a joint statement with the United States, after Scholz spoke to US President Joe Biden. But Scholz stopped short of promising the powerful Leopard tanks, even as some in his three-way coalition government are ramping up the pressure.
A survey conducted by the Insa polling institute for the mass-circulation Bild newspaper found 49% of respondents in general against the decision to supply the Marders, with 40% in favour.
Asked about supplying the Leopard, 50% were against and 38% in favour.