Poland to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, if others do, too

Jan 11, 2023, 9:04 AM | Updated: 9:12 am
FILE - Poland's President Andrzej Duda briefs the media during a joint news conference with German ...

FILE - Poland's President Andrzej Duda briefs the media during a joint news conference with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier after a meeting at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, Germany, Dec. 12, 2022. Duda was meeting Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, with the prime minister and some of his ministers to discuss security issues amid the war in neighboring Ukraine, including Kyiv's request for delivery of Western-made heavy battle tanks. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — Poland has decided to send a company of Leopard tanks to help neighboring Ukraine in the war with invading Russia, President Andrzej Duda said Wednesday.

But Duda, on a visit to Lviv, said that the move would be possible only as an element in a larger international coalition of tank aid to Kyiv.

Poland’s leaders have been indicating that they were in talks with other countries over a potential international coalition that would send the German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine. They haven’t named the countries.

Within this potential international coalition, “we have taken the decision to contribute a first package of tanks, a company of Leopard tanks, which, I hope, together with other companies of Leopard and other tanks that will be offered by other countries will …. be able to strengthen Ukraine’s defense,” Duda told a news conference in Lviv.

A company consists of 14 tanks.

Duda and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Lviv within the so-called Lublin Triangle of mutual cooperation.

Zelenskyy said that Ukraine needs tanks to win the war and is “awaiting a joint decision” on the subject because “one country cannot provide us with a sufficient number of them.”

The three leaders also discussed further strategic partnership between their countries.

“Lithuania and Poland have confirmed their determination to continue providing military, political, diplomatic, economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine,” Nauseda said.

“The war in Ukraine is our war — the war of the free world against a dictator. We will stand with Ukraine until victory,” he said.

In Britain, another staunch ally of Ukraine, the spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that “battle tanks could provide a game-changing capability to the Ukrainians.”

Spokesman Max Blain said that Sunak has instructed Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to work with allies on what vehicles were best to send. He said no final decision has been made. The U.K has been considering whether to send Challenger 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, which has been battling Russia’s full-scale invasion since Feb. 24.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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Poland to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, if others do, too