Moscow/Warsaw/Berlin (EFE).- The Kremlin has warned that the shipment by Germany of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, if it occurs, will affect Russian-German relations.
“These relations are already at a very low point and there is no substantive dialogue either with Germany or with other NATO countries,” said the spokesman for the Russian Presidency, Dmitri Peskov, at his daily press conference on Tuesday.
Peskov added that the supplies of the Leopard 2 main battle tanks, which kyiv claims, “do not bode well” for these relations and “will inevitably leave a mark” for future ties.
The reaction comes just after the Polish government also today submitted a formal request to Germany for the transfer of “Leopard 2” tanks to Ukraine.
Tank shipping debate
The Polish Minister of Defense, Mariusz Błaszczak, announced it on Twitter, who also called on the Berlin Executive “to join the coalition of countries that support Ukraine with ‘Leopard 2’ tanks.
“This is our common cause, because it is about the security of the whole of Europe!”, he added.
This Monday, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, announced that his country would present this request but that, even without the approval of the German government, it was willing to authorize the shipment of the tanks, made in Germany and whose re-export to other countries they have to allow Berlin.
Earlier, the German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, had declared in an interview with the French channel LCI that Germany would not block Poland’s decision to deliver its Leopard 2 to Ukraine if it received a request in this regard.
As reported by the Polish newspaper «Wyborcza», the countries that have such tanks had to sign a declaration in which they undertook not to transfer the equipment without the consent of the manufacturer.
During his recent visit to Lviv, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that his country is willing to send Ukraine between 10 and 14 Leopard 2 tanks (a company) out of the total of about 240 of this type that the polish army.
Germany will make a decision “shortly”
Shortly after this announcement, the German Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, expressed his confidence that the decision regarding whether or not to send “Leopard 2” tanks to Ukraine would take place “shortly”, while informing that the review of the stocks and availability of this type of tanks is almost finished.
«As for the ‘Leopard’ tanks, there is no news yet. I have always said that I am counting on the decision to be made soon, and I continue to start from that basis”, he said during a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
At the same time, he has again explicitly encouraged partner countries that have “Leopard” tanks ready for deployment to begin training Ukrainian forces in their handling and has ensured that “where possible and desired”, Germany of course “will not get in the way.”
NATO, in favor of sending the Leopards
The NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has not hesitated to ensure that, at this crucial moment in the war, Ukraine must be provided with heavier and more advanced systems and must be done “more quickly.”
In this sense, he said that he had a “good discussion” with Pistorius today on the issue of tanks.
“Consultations between the allies will continue and I am confident that we will soon have a solution,” Stoltenberg said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Berlin on Tuesday. EFE/EPA/Filip Singer
For the head of the Alliance, “the tanks are, of course, important, both to be able to repel the new Russian offensives, and so that Ukraine is able to retake territory to win and prevail as a sovereign and independent nation in Europe”-
According to Stoltenberg, “Germany’s weapons are saving lives in Ukraine every day,” while other NATO allies are stepping up arms supplies and some have already delivered tanks.
In his opinion, all the announcements made by the different partners put together represent a “wide range of different types of armor” for Ukraine, which represents a “huge additional contribution to the combat capabilities” of that country.