Neither Poland nor Finland have submitted an official request to re-export their German-made Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, a German government spokeswoman said Friday, as pressure mounts on Berlin to provide the tanks to Kyiv and to authorize other countries to do the same.
On Wednesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda pledged to send some of the country’s Leopard tanks to Ukraine during a meeting with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.
And on Thursday, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said his country could send a limited number of the tanks to Ukraine if a group of nations decides to do so, reports Reuters.
Thirteen European countries are in possession of German Leopard 2 tanks, which were introduced in 1979 and have been upgraded several times since, according to the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank. Any re-export of the tank by these countries would typically need approval from the German government.
“There is no question to which we would have to say no. But we’re saying right now that we are in a constant exchange about what is the right thing to do at this point in time and how we best support Ukraine,” German government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann told reporters at a regular news conference in Berlin on Friday.
Germany is ”in a very close exchange with the United States, France and Great Britain — but also with Poland and Spain,” about ongoing military assistance for Ukraine, added Hoffmann.
And the government said it was not concerned about reports that Poland is planning to deliver Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine without its permission, which would be in violation of re-export rules.
“That’s not something that we’re concerned about or that we fear,” she said. “I don’t think that’s a realistic assumption.”