Poland will send 60 more tanks to Ukraine, on top of the 14 it has already pledged to the war effort, the Polish prime minister has said.
The country has angled itself as one of Ukraine’s key allies in its war with Russia, and had already pledged to hand over 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks, after lobbying Berlin to allow other countries to do so.
Speaking to Canadian television, Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister said: “Poland sent 250 tanks as the first country half a year ago or even more than that.
“Right now, we are ready to send 60 of our modernised tanks, 30 of them PT-91. And on top of those tanks, 14 tanks, Leopard 2 tanks, from in our possession.”
PT-91 tanks are Polish-made battle vehicles, and began service in the 1990s, after being developed from the Soviet-era T-72s.
Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Poland for its announcement on Twitter, adding: “Together we will win!”
Canada will send four Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, as will Norway, while Spain says it is also considering the move.
Polish deputy defence minister Marcin Ociepa told Polish media it would take three months before the tanks reached Ukraine, adding: “It depends what country we are talking about, but I would estimate that we are talking about a quarter… until those tanks can be really on Ukrainian territory and go into battle.”
Earlier in the week, the US revealed it would also be sending the tanks to Ukraine.
President Biden said armoured capability has been “critical for Ukraine” and the US “will train Ukrainian troops as soon as possible”, adding that Germany has “really stepped up in support” of Mr Zelenskyy’s troops.
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The US earlier said it would provide the necessary training and supplies needed to operate and run its M1 Abrams tanks as part of its “long-term commitment that we have to Ukraine’s defence leads”, a senior administration official said.
Kyiv has been pleading for months for Western nations to send modern battle tanks to give its forces the firepower and mobility it hopes will break through Russian defensive lines and recapture territory occupied by Russia.
Although Ukraine has stocks of Soviet-made tanks, President Zelenskyy says his forces need more, faster and deadlier weapons – in particular Western tanks – to push the Russians back.
The German decision comes after the UK announced it would provide 14 Challenger 2 tanks, which was widely seen as an attempt to persuade other allies to send Leopards, of which there are much higher stocks across Europe.