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    Poland hopes for tank agreement with Ukraine

    Poland remains confident that it will be able to get Germany to agree to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks, even though the two sides could not reach a consensus during their gathering at Ramstein Air Base on Friday, according to a deputy foreign minister.

    Paweł Jabłoński echoed the Polish defence minister, Mariusz Błaszczak, who took part in a meeting of defence leaders from around 50 countries and Nato who gathered in Ramstein to discuss military aid for Kyiv as part of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group.

    After the talks, chaired by United States Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, Błaszczak said he was hopeful that efforts to provide Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine would succeed.

    “Hope stems from the fact that defence ministers from 15 countries met on the sidelines of today’s conference and we talked about this topic,”

    he told a press conference in Ramstein.

    Several European allies have asked Germany to grant export permission for other countries to donate their own German-made Leopards to help Ukraine fight against Russia’s invasion.

    But after the meeting in Ramstein, Germany’s new defence minister, Boris Pistorius, said that the issue of Germany allowing the export of Leopard 2 tanks had been discussed but no decision had been made.

    He added that the pros and cons of such deliveries should be weighed very carefully.

    Błaszczak, the Polish defence minister, told reporters that “Minister Pistorius said that it was his second day as the German defence minister so he was not able to present a conclusion yet, but I am convinced that coalition building will succeed.”

    After the news briefing, the Polish and German defence ministers met to talk about Leopards.

    Commenting on the Błaszczak-Pistorius meeting, Jabłoński, a Polish deputy foreign minister, told PAP that it was “another step towards the goal.”

    “We want all those who can to hand over their battle tanks to Ukraine. Germany should give permission for this and should also hand over those tanks from its own resources,”

    he said.

    Jabłoński added that Poland is ready “to take non-standard actions to ensure that Germany decides to transfer Leopards to Ukraine.”

    “Regardless of today’s position of Germany, we will continue diplomatic work to bring this about,”

    he said.

    Later on Friday, Poland’s foreign minister, Zbigniew Rau, told the TVP Wilno broadcaster for the Polish minority in Lithuania that transferring battle tanks to Ukraine was “moral and right” and “in our common interest.”

    “The Polish position is that the tanks must be supplied (to Ukraine),”

    he said.

    “However, we do not want to do it alone because what we offer, and we are talking about Leopard 2s, is the strength of one company, 14 tanks. This is an important contribution, but from the Ukrainian perspective it is insufficient,”

    Rau said.

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