Poland says willing to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine

Poland is ready to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine that Kyiv requested, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced on a visit to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

Warsaw is willing to deliver the tanks "within the framework of an international coalition," Duda said after meeting his Ukrainian and Lithuanian counterparts.

"As you know, there are a number of formal conditions that have to be met... but most of all, we want this to be an international coalition," Duda said, adding that he is counting on other countries to contribute to deliveries.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky applauded the move but said he was expecting "a common decision" involving other countries willing to send the advanced Leopard battle tanks.

"One state alone cannot help us," he said.

"I think today there will be a positive (decision) from another state to supply us with modern Western-style tanks," Zelensky added without naming the country.

At the same press conference, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda announced that his country would send anti-aircraft systems and ammunition to Ukraine.

Any decision by Poland to send German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine would require the green light from Berlin.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced just last week that his country will supply Marder infantry fighting vehicles and a Patriot air defence system to Ukraine.

However, pressure is already growing on Scholz to go further and agree to the delivery of Leopard tanks.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Germany's refusal to send battle tanks was costing lives.

The "longer it takes to make the decision, the more people will die", he said during a visit of German counterpart Annalena Baerbock to Kharkiv.

Kuleba on Wednesday said he believed it was only a matter of time before Germany would agree to send the tanks.

"Even if Germany has certain rational arguments for not doing it, Germany will still do it at a later date," he said in an interview with the ARD broadcaster.

"First they say no, then they defend their decision fiercely, only to say yes in the end," he said.

Anton Hofreiter, a Green party lawmaker and chair of the parliament's European affairs committee, called on Scholz to take the lead on tank deliveries.

The chancellor "has the responsibility to coordinate the delivery of battle tanks with the other Western heads of state and government," Hofreiter told the Tagesspiegel newspaper.

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