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Poland delivers first Leopard tanks to Ukraine

February 24, 2023

President Andrzej Duda has confirmed that the Polish prime minister "went to Kyiv to bring Leopard tanks" to Ukraine, where he offered a "clear signal of support."

Polish and Ukrainian soldiers train on a Leopard 2 tank at in western Poland
Ukrainian soldiers have trained on Leopard 2 tanks in western Poland earlier this monthImage: Krzysztof Zatycki/Zuma/picture alliance

Poland has confirmed delivering the first Leopard tanks to Ukraine on Friday as Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki visited Kyiv to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

At a meeting of the National Security Council in Warsaw, President Andrzej Duda said: "The prime minister couldn't be here, he went to Kyiv to bring Leopard tanks which are the first batch delivered to Ukraine."

Shortly after Berlin approved the export of the German-made battle tanks, Ukrainian crews started training on the Leopard 2 tanks in Poland. 

Morawiecki said four tanks have been delivered. But it was not immediately clear if they were the modern Leopard 2 or their forerunner, the Leopard 1.

Duda had said in January that Poland would give 14 Leopards to its neighbor.

Poland: First Ukrainian soldiers training on Leopard tanks

Poland's prime minister in Kyiv

During his visit to Kyiv, Morawiecki met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and laid a wreath at the Fallen Defenders memorial alongside Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. 

Morawiecki said Poland would support Ukraine until it defeated Russia, and would deliver more tanks soon.

"On the anniversary of Russia's vicious attack on Ukraine, I am in Kyiv to give a clear signal of further support in defense of Ukraine," Morawiecki wrote on Twitter. 

He said Poland was ready to train Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 fighter jets, amid calls for Kyiv's Western allies to deliver the aircraft.

"I underline that this should always be agreed within the broader coalition, but Poland is ready to carry out such training," he told reporters. 

Poland has been one of Ukraine's strongest supporters since Russia launched the war on February 24, 2022. Warsaw has repeatedly urged its NATO and EU allies to ramp up military aid to the war-torn country.


Why Ukraine is pleading for Western fighter jets

fb/rt (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)