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Polish President Andrzej Duda has accused the German government of breaking a promise to supply Warsaw with new tanks as compensation for Polish deliveries of Soviet-era tanks to Ukraine, writes Politico.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz last month unveiled the so-called Ringtausch, an exchange scheme under which Eastern NATO partners would supply the Ukrainian army with Soviet tanks such as the T-72 in exchange for modern Western German-made tanks such as the Leopard. Scholz and German officials argue that the model is beneficial for Ukraine, as it gets the same Soviet-era tanks that its soldiers and mechanics are already familiar with.

Duda said in an interview with the German news agency Welt that Berlin is not fulfilling its obligations to supply new tanks to replace those exported. 

The Polish president added that the majority of the tank arsenal in the Polish armed forces is made up of German Leopard tanks, adding that Berlin had made a promise to supply these tanks to Poland.

On Monday, a German Defense Ministry spokesman said that Berlin has begun a constructive exchange of views with the Polish allies to agree on their wishes and our capabilities but acknowledged that there is still some work to be done.

Also on Monday, the same spokesman said that Berlin is already successfully implementing Ringtausch with the Czech Republic and will supply Prague with 14 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks and one Leopard recovery vehicle under an exchange scheme.

One German official suggested that the quarrel with Warsaw could be related to Poland wanting better tanks from Germany: while the Leopard 2A4 that the Czech Republic is receiving was built in the late 1980s and has since been partly upgraded, Poland showed interest in a more modern version of the tank - Leopard 2A6.

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