The Pedro Sánchez government does not seem to want to send heavy military vehicles to Ukraine, as other NATO countries have done.
The Spanish government leaked the possible delivery of heavy vehicles at the beginning of June
On June 5, we reviewed here the information leaked by the Sánchez government to a related newspaper about the possible delivery of Leopard 2A4 battle tanks and Aspide missiles to Ukraine. The newspaper El País then said the following: "Defence sources estimate that some 40 cars could be rehabilitated and delivered to the Ukrainian Army, but they warn that this would require subjecting them to a set-up." There was also talk of a battery of Aspide missiles.
It has been more than a month and Spain still does not make that shipment
More than a month has passed since the publication of that news. And it has been at least two months since Ukraine asked Spain for those 53 Leopard 2A4 tanks, stored since 2012. Despite what was announced, Spain has not yet sent any heavy vehicles or missiles to Ukraine. Not even an artillery piece. In mid-June, a report by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) exposed Spain's ridiculous military aid to Ukraine. Small countries like Luxembourg and Estonia have contributed more than the Sánchez government.
The presence of pro-Russian parties in the Spanish government
The big difference between those countries and ours is that Spain has communists in government, and coincidentally they belong to two of the most pro-Russian parties in the European Parliament (Podemos and Izquierda Unida). Both parties have opposed sending any type of military aid to Ukraine, and even increasing military spending in Spain, as NATO has been demanding. Let us remember that in November 2014, the Russian pro-government newspaper Pravda.ru described Podemos as a "pro-Russian party" for opposing European sanctions against Russia for the annexation of Crimea.
The Spanish government is now talking about the possible delivery of 10 Leopard 2A4 and 20 M-113
Today, Infodefensa publishes a news item citing sources from the Spanish Ministry of Defense, in the hands of the socialist Margarita Robles, that affirm that Spain could send 10 Leopard 2A4 combat tanks and 20 M-113 personnel carriers. According to this information, "those responsible for Defense are currently exploring the possibility of transferring said systems." In other words, two months after Ukraine's request and a month after the news in the newspaper El País, the government is still exploring the possible delivery of this material.
The news from Infodefensa also indicates that the Ukrainian government would bear the costs of updating and modernizing these vehicles, which would be done through contracts with Spanish companies. Likewise, to deliver those 10 battle tanks it would be necessary to "cannibalize" 15 or 20, due to the lack of spare parts. Infodefensa adds that the delivery period could be extended until the end of the year, if the war has not ended before.
Spain has 1,250 M-113s and hopes to withdraw half of that fleet from service
Information from Infodefensa adds that a commission made up of Spanish servicemen, Ukrainian advisers and Spanish companies has visited those Leopard 2A4s and those M-113s in different bases on several occasions, to find out their status, during the last two weeks. The aforementioned website indicates that Spain has 1,250 M-113 and expects to withdraw half, more than 600 in total. But of those more than 600 only 20 will be delivered to Ukraine. According to Infodefensa, Ukraine would have shown interest in the 120 mm mortar carrier versions of the M-113. The news does not make any reference to the Aspide missiles that El País spoke about in June.
The aid that other countries with fewer resources than Spain have already approved
This information is disappointing and reduces to ridicule the possible shipment of heavy vehicles to Ukraine by Spain. Two months ago, the Portuguese government approved the shipment of 15 M-113s and 5 155mm howitzers to Ukraine, despite the fact that our Iberian neighbor has much more modest armed forces than the Spanish. Three months ago, the Czech Republic sent T-72 tanks and BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, being also a country with fewer resources than Spain. In turn, Poland has been sending T-72 tanks to Ukraine for two months (it is estimated that there are around 230 units). Likewise, weeks ago Lithuania transferred 20 M-113s to Ukraine.
The Sánchez government triples the purchase of Russian gas while postponing that military aid
To give us an idea, at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Lithuania had 269 M-113s. It is absurd that the Spanish government is still considering sending the same number of M-113s to Ukraine, having a total of 1,250 such vehicles. The obvious conclusion is that Pedro Sánchez's cabinet seems to have very little interest in helping Ukraine defend itself against the Russians, beyond its announcements to look good with NATO. And it is that while delaying again and again the shipment of heavy vehicles to Ukraine, the Sánchez government has tripled the purchase of Russian gas since its meeting with Zelensky on April 21. We Spaniards have a government that seems bent on embarrassing us.
Photo: Ejército de Tierra. One of the Leopard 2A4 combat tanks of the Cavalry Regiment "Montesa" 3 of the Spanish Army.
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