Leaders of Poland and Lithuania said they were optimistic that Germany would authorize the export of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, as business tycoons and policymakers gathered on Monday for the annual World Economic Forum.
“If we still send the defenders of Ukraine a lot of military equipment, cutting-edge military equipment, they still have the possibility of stopping the Russians,” Polish President Andrzej Duda told a panel meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.
His comments came after Poland announced last week that it plans to send Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine. The country called on the German government to supply Kyiv with “various weapons” because it needs permission from Germany to export German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Asked about his expectations, Duda said he hoped that “a few partners, a few allies would supply Ukraine with tanks” because German Chancellor Olaf Schulz was also at the Davos summit.
“We would like to see German tank producers also involved, which in my opinion is a very good idea. Volodymyr Zelensky asked me several times for military support and he told me Say Andrzej, we need modern tanks because this is the only way to stop the Russian invasion now,” Duda added.
Asked about divisions within the coalition, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said “someone has to take the lead and make a decision to support Ukraine”.
“I firmly believe that Chancellor Schulz will decide on this and I have witnessed a very important breakthrough or turning point in German thought or mentality,” he added.
Some background: Many countries in the Western Alliance have pledged to soon send tanks to the Ukrainian army to defend against a Russian invasion.
For the first time, France, Poland and the United Kingdom have responded to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s long-standing call to supply Kyiv with modern main battle tanks.
However, Scholz insisted that any such plan would need to be fully coordinated with the entire Western alliance, including the United States.
Scholz is scheduled to speak at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.