Poland to provide Ukraine with 10 more Leopard tanks this week

Photo: PAP/Maciej Kulczyński

Poland will deliver the remaining 10 of 14 Leopard tanks it promised to give to Ukraine as of this week, Mariusz Błaszczak, the country’s defense minister, announced on Tuesday.

Poland provided Ukraine with four of its German-made Leopards during the visit of Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to Kyiv on February 24.

Ukraine has been asking the West to supply it with modern main battle tanks for a number of months now, arguing it would help give their forces a decisive edge in repelling the Russian invading forces.

“Poland will deliver [the remaining] 10 Leopard 2A4s to Ukraine this week,” Błaszczak told a press briefing on Tuesday before leaving for Stockholm for a meeting of EU defense ministers.

He added that Warsaw is ready to establish a service hub for the tanks handed over to Ukraine at the Bumar-Labedy military equipment-producing plant in southern Poland, but at the moment the main problem is the lack of spare parts.

Błaszczak said that he will talk about the issue with his German counterpart Boris Pistorius in Stockholm later in the day.

“I expect Minister Pistorius to influence German industry so that spare parts for Leopards are supplied. This is a challenge facing Germany, Poland, Canada, basically all countries, but of course, this problem can be solved only by Germany, by the German defense industry,” he said.

According to Błaszczak, the Polish defense industry is also ready to produce the required spare parts, but only the manufacturer, the German company Rheinmetall, has all the necessary documentation.

He also said that as part of the “tank coalition” formed by Poland, in addition to the country’s 14 Leopard 2A4s, the planned Ukrainian tank battalion will also include eight Norwegian and Canadian tanks, six Spanish tanks and support vehicles that are to be delivered by Finland.