Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has accused the German government of breaching its promise to deliver tanks to his country. In an interview with the TV channel Welt on the fringes of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the head of state of the NATO partner referred to a commitment from Berlin to deliver tanks to replace tanks handed over to Ukraine by Poland.
“You have not fulfilled this promise,” added Duda, referring to the federal government. “And frankly, we’re very disappointed about it.”
“We have provided Ukraine with a large number of tanks,” the Polish president said. “By doing so, we have weakened our own military potential and we have depleted our own military stocks.”
That’s why Poland also hoped for support from Germany. A large part of the tank arsenal in the Polish Armed Forces consists of German Leopard tanks.
“So if we had been supported by Germany, if we had gotten a replacement in the form of a ring exchange, then we would have been very happy,” said Duda. “In fact, we received such a promise and Germany promised to supply us with these tanks.”
In general, the federal government is doing too little to help Ukraine, said Duda. Also because of the lack of German commitment, Poland stepped in with tank deliveries.
Poland supports its neighbor Ukraine against the Russian attack with Soviet T-72 tanks. Warsaw has already made it clear that it expects compensation from NATO partners, including Berlin.
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and her Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau emphasized on Tuesday their willingness to clear up problems and misunderstandings in the planned ring exchange of tanks.
It is clear “that we cannot deliver heavy material at the push of a button or by snapping our fingers,” said Baerbock on Tuesday after meeting Rau in Berlin. It is “important that we are in constant communication with each other so that no misunderstandings arise”. According to a translation by the Foreign Office, Rau said that the devil is in the details on the subject. There is a will to solve the problem.
The exchange of rings is about Eastern European partners handing over Soviet-style weapons to the Ukraine and receiving more modern replacements from Germany. Baerbock said she spoke to Rau about “how we can work together to clear up any ambiguities that may currently exist”.
Heavy material, especially from German stocks, cannot be delivered at the push of a button. With regard to the material that is subsequently delivered when the ring is exchanged, one has to make sure “that it is available, that it is repaired or that it is reordered accordingly”.