Poland has delivered its first batch of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced during a visit to Kyiv on Friday.
“I came here not only with a word of support. Poland, as the first European country, symbolically hands over to you, [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky], the first four Polish Leopard tanks,” Morawiecki said, according to his official Twitter account. “We will deliver more and urge our EU and NATO partners to do the same.”
Warsaw, which has pledged to provide Ukraine with 14 Leopard 2 tanks, was a key figure in the pressure campaign on Berlin last month to allow for the transfer of the German-made tanks to Ukraine.
Germany ultimately agreed to approve other countries’ requests to send the Leopard tanks to Ukraine in late January and pledged to also send 14 of its own tanks. The U.S. soon followed Berlin’s lead, announcing that it would send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
Morawiecki’s visit to Kyiv and the delivery of the first four Leopard tanks come at a symbolic moment as the Russia-Ukraine war marks its first anniversary.
“According to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s plans, 24 February 2022 was supposed to be the end of [Ukraine],” Morawiecki said on Twitter. “But Ukraine was born again.”
“Today Kyiv is the capital of freedom,” he added. “It is the easternmost fortress of free Europe. After 365 days, everyone can see that Ukraine is also the heart of European values.”