Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Warsaw could send Kyiv Leopard 2 tanks without Germany’s permission.
“We will ask for such permission, but that is a secondary issue,” Morawiecki said. “Even if we didn’t get this permit, we would transfer our tanks to Ukraine together with others.”
“Even if Germany is not in this coalition, we will hand over our tanks to Ukraine together with the others.”
Morawiecki said Sunday’s statement by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock that Berlin would not hamper Polish efforts to send German-made tanks to Ukraine was a “spark of hope” that Germany could join the coalition of countries ready to send tanks to Ukraine.
“We are constantly putting pressure on the government in Berlin to make their leopards available,” said the Polish Prime Minister. He added that Germany has “more than 350 active leopards and about 200 in storage.”
Here are more updates on the war in Ukraine on Monday 23rd January:
Member of the Bundestag says battle tank decision needs more time
German MP Ralf Stegner told DW on Monday that Germany’s reluctance to send main battle tanks to Ukraine was not based on a “tacit” refusal to do so, stressing that the government was taking time to agree details in Coordination with Germany’s allies.
“It’s not Germany that’s slowing down, it’s different countries with different opinions,” said Stegner, who belongs to Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s SPD.
“If you compare, for example, the government of Poland or what the government of France says, there are different sides to it,” he said, adding that providing main battle tanks was a “very difficult decision”.
“We want to make these decisions together with our allies, not as a credit decision for Germany,” he added.
Stegner also echoed public statements by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Sunday, in which she said Germany would not stand in the way of Poland sending its German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
He explained that while it’s not “surprising” that Germany doesn’t want to stand in the way of other countries supplying tanks, it’s “simply not common” to communicate this type of issue without the following procedure.
“I don’t know why the foreign minister said anything publicly,” he said.
Lawmakers said these types of decisions would be made at a “confidential meeting of a relevant special committee, after which the findings would be made public”.
Poland is ready to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine
EU foreign ministers agree on 500 million euro aid package
The EU foreign ministers have approved a further tranche of 500 million euros in military aid for Ukraine.
The amount earmarked for the Ukrainian military from EU coffers has risen to 3.6 billion euros. This amount is separate from the national expenditure of each Member State.
In total, European countries have pledged over 11 billion euros for weapons for Ukraine.
Ministers are also expected to discuss using Russian assets frozen under sanctions to fund reconstruction in Ukraine. This includes reserves of the Russian central bank worth 300 billion euros.
British business daily Financial Times reported on Monday that European Council President Charles Michel has urged the bloc to move forward with talks on the measure.
Michel wants to explore the idea of managing the Central Bank of Russia’s frozen assets to generate profits that would then be used to rebuild, he told the Financial Times.
Kyiv says it needs “several hundred” tanks
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff has said Ukraine needs “several hundred” tanks to push back Russian forces amid Berlin’s hesitation in delivering Leopard 2s.
“We need tanks – not 10-20, but several hundred,” wrote Andriy Yermak on Telegram. “Our goal is [restoring] the 1991 borders and punishing the enemy who will pay for their crimes.”
Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Russia took over the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and claimed to have annexed parts of southern and eastern Ukraine in September 2022.
Berlin is following ‘well-established procedures’ for tank requests – spokesman
German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said Berlin would follow “well-established procedures” when considering requests to supply tanks to Kyiv.
“I would like to put it this way: If such a request should be made in Germany, which is not the case at the moment, then there are established procedures for answering such a request. We all adhere to that,” he said.
“We have passionate debates, and these passions occasionally lead to exaggerations on all sides,” he said, referring to the tank supplies debate.
Former Wagner commander in Norway not threatened with deportation – lawyer
According to his lawyer, the former commander of the Wagner mercenary group, who fled to Norway, is not threatened with deportation.
“The risk that he will be deported? It’s zero,” Medvedev’s Norwegian lawyer Brynyulf Risnes told Portal.
Risnes said Medvedev was arrested because there was “disagreement” between Medvedev and the police over measures to ensure his safety.
Earlier Monday, rights group Gulagu.net said Medvedev was arrested and handcuffed on Sunday night and told he would be deported.
The former commander said he feared for his life after witnessing the killing of Russian deserters brought to Ukraine by the Wagner group. He claimed his four-month contract had been repeatedly renewed without his consent.
“We do not gloss over Medvedev. He has done many bad things in his life,” Gulagu.net said. “But he has seen the light, he has recognized this, he is ready and willing to cooperate with the world, with the international investigation and with the authorities of Norway, he wants to live and testify [against Wagner].”
Russia and Estonia weaken diplomatic ties over tensions in Ukraine
Moscow has declared that it is disparaging diplomatic relations with Estonia and has ordered its ambassador to leave the country, prompting Tallinn to respond in kind.
Estonia has strongly supported Germany supplying Leopard main battle tanks to Kyiv.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it had told Estonia’s envoy that he had to leave next month. Both countries will be represented in each other’s capitals by an interim charge d’affaires rather than an ambassador, the ministry said.
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said Tallinn had told the Russian ambassador to leave by February 7.
“We will continue to support Ukraine as Russia plans large-scale attacks, and we call on other like-minded countries to step up their aid to Ukraine,” Reinsalu said.
“In recent years, the Estonian leadership has deliberately destroyed the entire range of relations with Russia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Total Russophobia, the cultivation of hostility towards our country has been elevated to the rank of state policy by Tallinn.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “The Estonian regime got what it deserved” by downgrading ties.
The Russian secret service accuses Kyiv of storing weapons in nuclear power plants
The Russian foreign intelligence service SVR has accused Ukraine of storing weapons supplied by the West in nuclear power plants.
Portal news agency said it could not verify the claims.
“The Ukrainian armed forces are stockpiling weapons and ammunition provided by the West on the territory of nuclear power plants,” the SVR said in a statement.
Ukraine: Kyiv is dangerous after dark
Russia: No date set for START talks with US
Moscow said it had not set a date for talks with the United States on the new START treaty, which aims to limit the number of nuclear warheads in the two countries.
“Frankly, the situation does not allow setting a new date, given this escalation tendency in both rhetoric and actions of the United States,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by the state news agency Interfax.
In November, Russia said it had “no choice” but to end talks with the US over inspections under the New START treaty. The agreement is scheduled to expire in February 2026.
Zelenskyy promises measures after corruption scandal
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has promised “strong steps” to counteract the alleged corruption in Kyiv.
“Society will be fully informed and the state will take the necessary vigorous steps,” said the Ukrainian head of state.
“I don’t want to announce it [the steps] now, but it will all be fair,” he said. “I want to be clear: there will be no return to what was once.”
Deputy Infrastructure Minister Vasyl Losynskii was arrested by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau earlier this week. He is accused of accepting bribes to buy power generators. Zelenskyy said that Losynskii has since been released.
The Ukrainian President also responded to media reports that officials had enriched themselves while soldiers were being sold overpriced food.
Zelenskyy, leader of the Servant of the People party, was elected on an anti-corruption platform in 2019.
More DW coverage of the war in Ukraine
DW takes a look at how Russian state media portray Germany and its leadership.
Several German politicians have criticized Berlin’s reluctance to supply Kyiv with Leopard 2 tanks.
sdi/rc (AP, AFP, Portal, dpa)
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