Polish media outlets have revealed that approximately $7 billion worth of military equipment has been transferred to Ukraine since the outbreak of war between the country and Russia on February 24, with Warsaw having long taken one of the most hardline positions against Moscow and been a leading advocate of arming its neighbour. Among the weapons reportedly supplied were 200 T-72 battle tanks, several Gvozdika self propelled artillery guns, Grad multiple rocket launchers, and missiles compatible with the Ukrainian Air Force’s MIG-29 and Su-27 fighter jets. The possibility of deliveries of Polish MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine has also been raised in the past. It was highlighted that the number of T-72s delivered represented approximately half of all Polish tanks in service, and more tanks than the large majority of NATO member states fielded. Poland and other former members of the Warsaw Pact, a USSR-led military alliance formed shortly after NATO to counter the Western power bloc, have been considered the most suitable providers of armaments since their Soviet weapons designs are compatible with those predominantly Soviet equipment of the Ukrainian Military.
Although the T-64 makes up the backbone of Ukrainian tank units, with an estimated 750 having been in service before the war began, the T-72 was also deployed in smaller numbers and were prized for their lower maintenance needs than the older design. Poland previously built T-72s under license, although those in Poland and Ukraine itself are considered effectively obsolete particularly against more modern Russian tank designs such as the T-72B3M and T-90M. The Polish Army has been able to spare large numbers of T-72s largely due to its plans to acquire American M1A2 Abrams tanks to replace them, with the much larger tanks having much higher operational costs and needing four rather than three crew but being several decades ahead technologically of Soviet era T-72 variants. The possibility that Poland could later supply PT-91 tanks, an improved T-72 variant, has also been raised.
Russia has notably claimed that Poland has designs to reunify western Ukraine with its own territory, with the land having been part of Polish territory before Second World War. Russian sources have also consistently reported that significant numbers of Polish combatants, many of them private military contractors, are present on Ukrainian soil taking part in the war effort. There remains a significant possibility that these contractors could be the ones operating some of the equipment being supplied by Warsaw.