Posted by on January 27, 2023 4:47 pm
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Poland to add 60 tanks to latest round of aid to Ukraine

Britain’s Challenger 2 tank moves at the Tapa Military Camp, in Estonia, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. Senior officials from Britain, Poland, the Baltic nations and other European countries met in Estonia on Thursday before the Ramstein gathering. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin) Pavel Golovkin/AP

Poland to add 60 tanks to latest round of aid to Ukraine

Joel Gehrke January 27, 03:53 PMJanuary 27, 03:53 PM Video Embed

Poland plans to give Ukraine dozens of modernized Soviet-era tanks alongside a squadron of German-made Leopards in a bid to hasten the arrival of armor that could prove crucial in a coming clash with Russia.

“We try to lead by example,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told CTV, a Canadian media outlet. “Right now, we are ready to send 60 of our modernized tanks, 30 of them PT-91. And on top of those tanks, 14 tanks, Leopard 2 tanks, from in our possession.”

Those offerings raise the prospect of Ukrainian forces acquiring almost two full tank battalions from Poland in the near future, in addition to the 250 Soviet-era tanks that Polish officials provided last year. The announcement follows German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s decision to join Poland in a multinational coalition that is pooling resources to send about 80 Leopards to Ukraine, meaning that Poland’s additional Soviet legacy tanks will approximate the total number of Leopards donated by the other members of the coalition.

“If we don’t want Ukraine to be defeated, we have to be very much open and brave in supporting Ukraine,” Morawiecki said. “And I think if Europe wants to have stable and long term growth, stability and development in a peaceful way, we have to fend off all those barbaric attacks by the Russians.”


Russian military and mercenary forces have concentrated recently on ground attacks in Donetsk, one of the core regions of the eastern Ukrainian territory that Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared must be incorporated into the Russian state. Russia also could launch a wider offensive using the accumulations of Russian conscripts and military equipment, a prospect that spurred Western powers to provide tanks, artillery, and other armored vehicles to the embattled country.

“Thank you… Poland for these important decisions to deliver to Ukraine 60 Polish tanks — 30 of which are the famous PT-91 Twardy, along with 14 Leopards,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted on Friday.

Poland, among the NATO allies, took the most overt stance in pressuring Germany to join the coalition of countries sending Leopards to Ukraine, a donation drive that could not take place without Berlin’s approval because the tanks were made by a German company. President Joe Biden secured Scholz’s agreement by announcing that Ukrainian forces eventually will receive U.S.-made Abrams tanks, and the trans-Atlantic package is reportedly being reinforced by 20 updated Soviet-style T-72 tanks from Morocco.

“[This] marks a setback to Russia’s attempts to keep the continent on side, or at least neutral, particularly within the UN,” Azure Strategy’s Alice Gower, a security analyst at a consultancy in the United Kingdom, told DW, a German media outlet. “African states have been careful in their approach, abstaining from, or rejecting, the various UN resolutions condemning Russia.”

The decision to send modern Western tanks has raised fears in some quarters that the risk of a clash between Russia and Western powers could rise, but Western officials maintain that it is a natural response to Putin’s tactics.

“I think that this latest development in terms of armed supply is just an evolution of the situation and of the way Russia started moving the war into a different stage,” the European Union’s Stefano Sannino, a senior official in the EU diplomatic corps, told reporters in Tokyo on Friday. “Putin has moved from a concept of [a] special [military] operation to a concept now of a war against NATO and the West.”

Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, argued that Western powers should not believe that sending weapons raises risks.


“No, Russia’s weapon is fear. Our weapon should be and has to be solidarity. Putin behaves like an actor from an old geopolitical theater,” the prime minister said. “And his main, major objective is to reestablish the Russian Empire … if we want to develop in a peaceful environment, we have to stay strong, stay together, and united, because it is the only way we can prevent further attacks by the Russians.”

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