Politico: France, Poland push Germany to hand over Leopard tanks to Ukraine

Paris is putting pressure on Germany to agree to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine ahead of a Franco-German summit on Jan. 22, Politico reported, citing an unnamed French official.

Poland is also exerting pressure on Berlin by publicly calling for a broad coalition among Western allies to hand over Leopards to Ukraine. “We encourage other countries to form a broad coalition for the transfer of more modern tanks to Ukraine, such as Leopard tanks,” Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński told Polish public radio on Jan. 9, Politico reported. 

After months of negotiations, Germany announced on Jan. 5 that it would provide Ukraine with Marder infantry fighting vehicles. The United States jointly announced it would provide Ukraine with Bradly fighting vehicles the same day.

The announcements followed a decision by France to supply Ukraine with AMX-10 RC armored fighting vehicles and Bastion armored personnel carriers in the first decision of a European country to provide Ukraine with Western-made fighting vehicles.

The Ukrainians are asking for the Leopard tanks because there are lots in stock across Europe, Politico quoted the French official as saying.

Currently, Germany, Spain, Poland, Greece, Denmark, and Finland are using the 60-ton Leopard 2, which is equipped with a 120-millimeter cannon. Finland has publicly stated its readiness to send the tanks to Ukraine.

But as Munich defense company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann produces the tanks, any decision to send them to Ukraine requires a re-export authorization from the country of origin, meaning that Berlin has to give the green light, Politico reported.