Ukraine War, January 19, 2023: Poland threatens to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine without German approval

Developing. We are publishing this article as it is being written. Please check back for updates

To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, and you will see a list in chronological order.

To understand the broad context within which current developments in Ukraine should be considered,see

“Ukraine War, October 26, 2022: The context for analysis of current developments; The “dirty bomb” as a Russian propaganda distraction from current war crimes,” The Trenchant Observer, October 26, 2022.


1) Loveday Morris and Dan Lamothe, “U.S. defense chief in Berlin for talks as Germany stalls on tank deliveries,” Washington Post, January 19, 2023 (Updated at 2:14 p.m. EST);

2) Klaus Geiger und Gregor Schwung, “Letzte Ausfahrt Ramstein,” Die Welt, den 19. Januar 2023;

3) Klaus Geiger and Gregor Schwung, “LEOPARD TANKS FOR UKRAINE: Last exit Ramstein,” Die Welt, January 19, 2023;

3) Philipp Fritz, Klaus Geiger, Christoph B. Schiltz, “Das Panzer-Endspiel – die Stunde Amerikas,” Die Welt, den 19. Januar 2023;


Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has put his finger on a decisive aspect of the provision to Ukraine of the weapons it needs to repel Russian aggression and barbarism.

International security and the future of international law and the U.N. Charter can and should not be subordinated to a contractual clause in a purchase agreement for tanks, and to the recalcitrance of a weak and dithering Chancellor in Germany who is more concerned with the pacifists and Russia-friendly elements in his own SPD party than he is with the freedom of Ukraine and the security of Europe and the world.

Olaf Scholz has been a skillful politician in muddling through decisions in the mold of Àngela Merkel, in whose cabinet he served as Deputy Chancellor and Minister of Finance–in a peacetime environment.

But he has not shown himself to be a visionary leader in wartime, as he has dragged his feet on every major decision and its implementation relating to providing military assistance to Ukraine–in a wartime environment where the stakes are incredibly high.

In his defense, one might argue that he has succeeded in bringing the pacifist and Russia-friendly elements of the Social Democratic Party along in supporting military and other assistance to Ukraine–as they slowly awake from their pro-Russian dreams and illusions.

However, the fate of Ukraine cannot be subordinated to the domestic political agenda of the leader of one state, even a state as important as Germany.

Poland and other European countries who wish to send their German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine should feel free to do so. If Germany wants to oursue legal remedies, it can proceed accordingly.

But even in legal terms, there are public policies and force majeure provisions which might override the requirement that Germany approve the transfer of their tanks to a third country.

Decision makers need to get a grip: The question facing Europe and the world is not about the binding nature of a legal provision in a contract, when Russia is trying to tear up the U.N, Charter and the international legal order.

Moreover, there are other countries which make tanks. In the future, such approval provisions may be much more carefully negotiated and drafted. It is not likely tgat a German manufacturer wouldvrefuse to sell tanks to a country that violated the German government approval orovision, orbtgat the German government would block such a sale.

What does it all mean?

It means that Olaf Scholz’s veto power over providing advanced arms and munitions to Ukraine must be wrested from his hands.

German voters will have to decide whether they want the pacifists and Russia-friendly elements of the SPD to dictate the extent of German military assistance to Ukraine, or might prefer a government led by the Green Party and foreign minister Annalena Baerbach.

If the Greens withdraw from the governing ‘traffic-light coalition”, elections will need to be held. Given the support of the SPD in Germany today, the Greens might well win a majority of the votes. A Green Party-CDU governing coalition could be the result. The Greens and the CDU are currently partners in governing coalitions in three or four of the most important federal states in Germany.

In the meantime, Ukraine and the West have a war of self-defense to prosecute against the aggression and barbarism of the invading Russian troops.

The Trenchant Observer


A selection of the best articles from The Trenchant Observer is published on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday in the Trenchant Observations newsletter on Substack.

You may subscribe here,