Polish Prime Minister Confirms T-72 Tanks Transfered To Ukraine

In mid-April, speculation occurred over the possible transfer of heavy equipment, including tanks, from Poland to Ukraine. Warsaw has already provided Ukraine with equipment worth PLN 7 billion ($1.5 billion) but it was unclear if T-72s were part of Poland’s military assistance. Poland’s prime minister has now confirmed tanks have been transfered to Ukraine.

The Polish Armed Forces have an undisclosed number of, thought to be around 400, post-Soviet T-72s in different variations. Some 230 T-72M1s underwent a brief modernization effort at the Bumar-Labedy, the company that is also modernizing Polish Leopard 2A4 to 2PL standard. The modernization included the implementation of a new thermal sight, passive night observation systems, digital comms, digital engine starter system, new transport baskets on the turret, a new power supply unit, and a new set of tracks. Whether these upgraded vehicles have been included in Polish transfers to Ukraine is unknown.

While Poland is know to have sent other crucial aid to Ukraine there has been speculation around the potential transfer of heavy equipment. The Polish government remained quiet and did not provide any official statement until recently.

On 25 April, the Chancellery of the Prime Minister (Kancelaria Premiera) tweeted that Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had confirmed the transfer of tanks, saying:

“Yes, Poland did transfer its tanks to Ukraine, but we will not disclose the number in order to protect the safety of our Ukrainian friends.”

The delivery of heavy equipment, initiated by the US call for help to Ukraine, saw Czechia openly declaring the transfer of its post-Soviet BMP-1 IFVs and T-72s. The coverage of the transfer of various military gear was intense and often included unconfirmed statements on the transfer of various systems by Poland. Yet it was only on April 25 when the Polish Prime Minister admitted in a TV interview, that the transfer in fact took place. Polish national public-service radio broadcaster Radio Polskie 24 reported that as many as 200 T-72s had been sent, along with “several dozen infantry fighting vehicles.”

T-72M1 of the Polish Armed Forces / Michal Derela under CC BY-SA 4.0 License

Poland has provided refuge to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the war and also transfered 2S1 Goździk self-propelled howitzers, drones and Grad multiple rocket launch systems, as well as MANPADS, small arms, and ammunition. Following the transfer the number of T-72s remaining in Polish Armed Forces storage is unknown. There may be more T-72s that could be transfered in the future. Heavy equipment is crucial for the Ukrainians to hold out in the latest stage of the war that is currently taking place in Donbas.