By Jo Harper
WARSAW, (AA) – Poland will apply to the EU for compensation for the transfer of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, said the nation's prime minister on Tuesday.
“This would be another test of goodwill of the EU,” Mateusz Morawiecki told a press conference in Warsaw.
Poland’s deputy foreign minister said last Friday that Warsaw was ready to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine even without Germany's re-export approval.
"If there is strong resistance, then we will also be ready for non-standard action, even if someone takes offense at it. I do not exclude our readiness to take such a step," Pawel Jablonski told radio station RMF FM.
Germany has been cautious about approving weapons that might be seen as escalating conflict.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said discussions with Germany's allies on tanks were ongoing but should not be conducted in public.
Poland said it wants to send 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as part of a coordinated effort by NATO allies, but it first needs Berlin’s approval because of rules governing the re-export of German military equipment.
Ukraine has so far relied on Soviet-era T-72 tank variants.
Ukraine wants the US’ M1 Abrams tanks and Germany’s Leopard 2s, which would give it an advantage over Russia.
Last month Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhny, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, called for 300 tanks and 600-700 fighting vehicles to help Ukraine.
“I hope that a response from the Germans will come quickly this time, because they are delaying, dodging, acting in a way that is difficult to understand," Morawiecki said. "We can see very clearly that they do not want to help Ukraine, which is defending itself, to a greater extent. What does this mean then? Does this mean fear, or some incomprehensible fear, or faith that a return to normal relations with Russia is still possible?"
He added: “Germany is the largest country and should make a huge contribution to this joint coalition of countries that help Ukraine. We have submitted this request and await a prompt response. Of course, we are already training Ukrainian soldiers in Poland, other countries are also doing it on their territories, so this is nothing new here and we will continue to do so."