Polish President Andrzej Duda has accused the German government of breaking its promise to supply Warsaw with new tanks as compensation for Polish deliveries of Soviet-era tanks to Ukraine, writes Politico.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz last month unveiled the so-called Ringtausch, an exchange program under which NATO’s eastern partners would provide Ukraine’s military with Soviet tanks such as the T-72 in exchange for tanks modern ones made in West Germany such as the Leopard. Scholz and German officials argue the model is good for Ukraine because it gets the same Soviet-era tanks its soldiers and mechanics already know.
Duda said in an interview with the German news agency Welt that Berlin was not fulfilling its obligations to supply new tanks to replace those exported.
The Polish President added that the majority of the Polish Armed Forces’ tank arsenal consists of German Leopard tanks, adding that Berlin promised to supply these tanks to Poland.
On Monday, a spokesman for the German Defense Ministry said Berlin had begun a constructive exchange of views with Polish allies to agree on their wishes and our capabilities, but acknowledged there was still work to be done.
Also on Monday, the same spokesman said Berlin was already successfully implementing Ringtausch with the Czech Republic and would supply Prague with 14 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks and a Leopard recovery vehicle as part of an exchange program.
A German official suggested that the feud with Warsaw could be linked to the fact that Poland wanted better tanks from Germany: while the Leopard 2A4 the Czech Republic receives was built in the late 1980s and has since been partially improved, Poland showed interest in a more modern tank. version of the tank – Leopard 2A6.