Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, announced at a press conference in Warsaw on 9 March 2023 that Poland has handed over a second tranche of 10 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks (MBTs) to Ukraine.

His statement also confirmed that the initial 14 tanks promised by Poland have been handed over and that the Ukrainian tank crews trained in Poland had arrived back in their country.

“In this way we are supporting Ukraine within the international coalition,” Blaszczak said. Speaking of the formation to which the Polish tanks have been sent, Blaszczak noted, “In addition to 14 Polish Leopard 2 tanks, this battalion also includes eight tanks each from Canada and Norway and six tanks from Spain.”

On 7 March Blaszczak said Poland had offered to set up a repair facility for the Leopard 2s handed over to Ukraine. The workshop is to be built along the lines of the plant of tank manufacturer Bumar-Labędy in Gliwice (Gleiwitz). Among other things, Bumar is involved in the conversion of Leopard 2A4s to the Polish-specific 2PL version and, together with Rheinmetall, in the modernisation of the tanks to 2PLM1 standard. Blaszczak said that the main problem in maintaining and repairing the tanks is the insufficient availability of spare and replacement parts: a problem that can only be solved by the German defence industry. Blaszczak announced that he would ask his German counterpart, Boris Pistorius, for support and wanted to use the meeting of EU defence ministers in Stockholm on 7-8 March for this purpose.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki handed over the first Leopard 2s to Ukraine on 24 February: the anniversary of the start of the war.

Gerhard Heiming