International

Poland requests German approval to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

Two Leopard 2 A6 heavy battle tanks and a Puma infantry fighting vehicle of the Bundeswehr's 9th Panzer Training Brigade participate in a demonstration of capabilities during a visit by Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht to the Bundeswehr Army training grounds on February 07, 2022 in Munster, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Poland has formally asked for approval from Germany to transfer some of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, its defense minister said Tuesday, raising the pressure on Berlin to respond to Kyiv’s pleas and send its own shipment of vehicles into the battlefield.

“The Germans have already received our request for consent to the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine,” Mariusz Blaszczak said on Twitter. “I also appeal to the German side to join the coalition of countries supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. This is our common cause, because it is about the security of the whole of Europe!”

The German government didn’t immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Germany has so far resisted calls from Poland, the US and a handful of other NATO countries to transfer the tanks into Ukraine, or authorize other countries to send some of their Leopards to Kyiv.

The German government will decide whether to allow delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine soon, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said during a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday. “We are preparing our decision and it will come very soon,” Pistorius said, adding that if the decision is to send the tanks, Germany would be able to “act very soon.”

Poland, along with a number of European countries, has its own batch of Leopards which it is seeking to re-export. By rule Berlin must approve such a move, but the German government has indicated it will not stand in the way of Poland sending Leopards across its eastern border into Ukraine.

Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said Monday that a “condition” for Poland was the assembly of a “small coalition” of states willing to send battle tanks to Ukriane. But foreign minister Zbigniew Rau later told journalists that Warsaw was “determined” to send tanks regardless of the decisions of other countries.

This is a developing story which will be updated…