Polish President Andrzej Duda. left, and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda take part in the World Economic Forum (WEF) ‘Defense of Europe’ session in Davos, Switzerland on January 17. (Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)

Polish and Lithuanian leaders said they were optimistic about Germany allowing the export of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, as business moguls and policymakers gathered for the annual World Economic Forum on Monday.

“If we still send a lot of military equipment for the defenders of Ukraine, advanced military equipment, they still have this potential to stop the Russians,” Polish President Andrzej Duda told a roundtable in Davos on Tuesday. , in Swiss.

His comments came after Poland last week announced plans to send Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine. The country has called on the German government to supply “all kinds of weapons” to Kyiv, as it needs Germany’s permission to export German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Duda said he hoped “there are a few partners, a few allies, who will give tanks to Ukraine,” when asked about his expectations, as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also attended the Davos summit.

“We hope that the German tank producer will also participate in this very good idea, in my opinion. Volodymyr Zelensky asked me for this military support several times, he told me Andrzej, we need modern tanks because it is the only way to stop the Russian invasion now,” Duda added.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said “someone has to take this leadership, take the decision in order to support Ukraine”, when asked about the divisions within the alliance.

“I strongly believe that Chancellor Scholz will decide this and I witnessed a very important breaking point or turning point in German thinking or mentality,” he added.

A bit of context: Many Western alliance countries have pledged to send tanks soon for the Ukrainian army to use in its efforts to defend against the Russian invasion.

France, Poland and the United Kingdom have for the first time responded to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s long-standing appeal to supply modern battle tanks to Kyiv.

However, Scholz insisted that such a plan should be fully coordinated with the entire Western alliance, including the United States.

Scholz is scheduled to speak at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

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