Germany receives Polish request to give Ukraine tanks, says Poland

WARSAW, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Germany has now received Poland's official request to re-export Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the Polish defence minister said on Tuesday, as Warsaw cranks up the pressure on Berlin to give its approval.

Ukraine wants the German-made Leopard 2, one of the most widely used Western tanks, to help it break through Russian lines and recapture territory this year.

Germany, whose approval is required for re-exports of the Leopard, has held back, wary of prompting Moscow to escalate the conflict.

"The Germans have already received our request for permission to transfer Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine," Mariusz Blaszczak wrote on Twitter.

Soldiers of the Swiss Army are seen in a Leopard 2 tank, taking part in the military exercise "Pilum", as they drive on the A1 motorway near Othmarsingen, Switzerland November 28, 2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

"I also appeal to the German side to join the coalition of countries supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks," he added. "This is our common cause, because the security of the whole of Europe is at stake!"

Berlin has said it is willing to act quickly if there is a consensus among those allies.

A spokesperson for the German economy ministry could not immediately be reached by telephone and did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.

On Sunday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock had said Berlin would not stand in Poland's way if it chose to ask and, on Monday, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Germany was not blocking the export of the tanks.

Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk, and Christian Kraemer in Berlin; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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