February 7, 2023


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Polish President Andrzej Duda. Left, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda takes part in the World Economic Forum session “In Defense of Europe” in Davos, Switzerland, on January 17. (Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)

The leaders of Poland and Lithuania said they were optimistic Germany would allow the export of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, as top business leaders and policymakers gathered for the annual World Economic Forum on Monday.

“If we’re still sending a lot of military equipment to the defenders of Ukraine, advanced military equipment, they still have this ability to stop the Russians,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said Tuesday during a panel session in Davos, Switzerland.

His comments came after Poland announced last week that it plans to send Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine. Germany called on the German government to supply Kyiv with “all kinds of weapons”, because it needed Germany’s permission to export German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Duda said he hoped “there will be a few partners, a few allies, who will give tanks to Ukraine,” when asked about his expectations as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attended the summit in Davos.

We hope that the German tank manufacturer will also take part in this, in my opinion, a very good idea. Volodymyr Zelensky has asked me about this military support many times, Andrei told me we need modern tanks because it is the only way to stop the Russian invasion now,” Duda added.

“Someone has to take this leadership and make the decision in order to support Ukraine,” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said when asked about divisions within the alliance.

He added, “I believe very strongly that Chancellor Schultz will decide this matter, and I was witness to a very important stopping point or turning point in Germany’s thinking or mentality.”

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Some context: Many countries in the Western alliance soon pledged to do so Send tanks for the Ukrainian army to use in its efforts to defend against a Russian invasion.

France, Poland and the United Kingdom responded for the first time to the call of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to supply modern combat tanks to Kyiv.

However, Scholz insisted that any such plan must be fully coordinated with the entire Western coalition, including the United States.

Schulz is scheduled to deliver a speech at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.