Ukraine War, March 10, 2022 (II): SATIRE–Ukrainian tank drivers unable to take delivery of donated Polish tanks because they don’t have Polish driver’s licenses


The U.S. has dropped its earlier resistance and agreed to allow Poland to donate old tanks to Ukraine, but the actual delivery has been delayed due to logistical problems which it may take some time to overcome.

The main hold-up is that the Ukrainian tank drivers, who are coming to Poland to pick up the tanks, don’t have Polish driver’s licenses.

While Poland’s Department of Motor Vehicles has said that it is willing to issue temporary authorizations for the tanks to be driven by the Ukrainian tank drivers to the Ukrainian-Polish border, White House lawyers are refusing to authorize the transfers because they have doubts that such temporary authorizations from the Polish DMV would satisfy the requirement that, under NATO insurance policies, all drivers must have valid local driver’s licenses.

White House lawyers and other officials are exploring the possibility of the Ukrainian tank drivers obtaining international driver’s licenses, which would then be valid in Poland.

Nonetheless, delays are expected. Even if the international driver’s licenses satisfy Polish DMV requirements, getting the licenses may take some time, due in part to the difficulty for some drivers of gathering together the necessary documentation to support an application, given current conditions in Ukraine, and due in part to the backlog in the issuance of such licenses at the international agency that issues them.

White House lawyers have stated that they are continuing discussions aimed at resolving these issues.

The Trenchant Observer

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James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.