Following numerous Ukrainian requests, Poland has decided to transfer German-made Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine, Polish President Andrzej Duda said during his visit to Lviv, Ukraine, on Jan. 11, where he met with his Ukrainian and Lithuanian counterparts, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Gitanas Nauseda.
According to Duda, Poland will provide around a dozen Leopards to Kyiv – as part of a wider “coalition” effort to arm Ukraine with modern MBTs.
“A company of Leopard tanks for Ukraine will be transferred as part of building an international coalition; such a decision has already been made by Poland,” Duda’s office quoted the president in a Twitter post.
The exact number of tanks Warsaw will put forward remains unclear – just as whether Ukraine is set to receive Leopard or Leopard-2 tanks. While both tanks remain in service of many European militaries, Leopard-2 is a substantial upgrade from its predecessor, which first entered service in 1965.
Zelenskyy thanked Duda for pledging to give Leopards, while noting that arming Ukraine with modern MBTs will take more than “just one country.”
“We’re facing thousands of Russian tanks,” said Zelenskyy during the joint press briefing.
“I don’t want to get specific, but we expect a positive signal from another country willing to supply us with modern Western tanks. But it’s all part of a concerted effort of all countries (involved). We’re fighting for our common values, and that calls for a joint aid effort.”
The Financial Times reported on Jan. 11 that the UK government has resolved to “work with partners” to transfer Challenger-2 MBTs to Ukraine.
Politico earlier reported that France and Poland are putting pressure on Germany to provide Leopard-2 MBTs to Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz later said Berlin would expand security assistance to Ukraine only in coordination with other allies.
Following talks between Ukrainian and French presidents Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Emmanuel Macron on Jan. 4, Franceagreed to provide Ukraine with AMX-10RC armored vehicles, which are sometimes classified as wheeled tanks – the first instance of armored vehicles of this type to be transferred to Kyiv.
On Jan. 5, following talks between U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the United States and Germany announced that they would transfer Marder and Bradley Infantry FightingVehicles to Ukraine. Berlin will also transfer an additional Patriot air defense battery to Ukraine – on top of the one Washington pledged back in December 2022.