Pedro Sánchez's government has once again staged an embarrassing show, this time with the announced shipment of Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine.
Robles rules out the shipment of the Leopard 2A4 to Ukraine alleging its "regrettable" state
As announced by the Efe agency this afternoon, the Defense Minister, Margarita Robles, has finally ruled out shipment to Ukraine of the Leopard 2A4, stating that "they are in an absolutely regrettable situation". The minister has added that the tests carried out on the Leopard 2A4, stored in the facilities of the Logistics Support Group No. 41 (AALOG 41) in Casetas (Zaragoza), have determined that "they are in conditions that cannot be used and we cannot give them because they would be a risk to people".
Will the alternative to sending tanks be sending scarves and blankets?
Robles has also announced that this Wednesday he will visit the Embassy of Ukraine "as a sign of Spain's absolute solidarity with the Ukrainian people." The Efe agency has indicated that during this visit "the type of aid that Spain can offer Ukraine could be specified and that could include material prepared to face a winter that, as the minister has warned, is going to be very hard and difficult". Reading this, one wonders if the alternative to sending tanks is going to be sending scarves and blankets...
A succession of contradictory information since April 22
In Spain we are already used to the government of Pedro Sánchez lying without blinking an eye. It does it every day. In the case of the Leopard 2A4 it is enough to review the newspaper archives to realize that today's statement by Robles does not stand up. The Leopard 2A4 case began on April 22nd. That day, The Objective noted that the Ministry of Defense ruled out sending the 53 Leopard 2A4s stored in Zaragoza to Ukraine, describing it as "unfeasible", without further ado. On May 1, and citing "diplomatic sources" (probably the Ukrainian Embassy), The Objective published that Ukraine had requested the 53 Leopard 2A4s stored in Zaragoza from Spain.
On May 23, the Spanish Ministry of Defense communicated to the media the offer of Spain to Ukraine to train Ukrainian soldiers in the use of Leopard 2 tanks in Córdoba or Zaragoza, or even in Ādaži, Latvia, where Spain has deployed some tanks of this type. The information ruled out the option of transferring any of its stored units to the Ukraine, stating that the Leopard 2A4s stored in Zaragoza were not ready to be used and it would take four months to get them ready.
On June 5, the government leaked the possible shipment of 40 Leopard 2A4 and Aspide missiles
The first information about the possible shipment of these tanks to Ukraine was news from the pro-government newspaper El País on June 5, clearly filtered by the government. This information assured that Spain was "willing to deliver anti-aircraft missiles and Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine". El Pais stated the following:
"Defence sources estimate that some 40 tanks could be rehabilitated and delivered to the Ukrainian Army, but they warn that this would require subjecting them to a fine-tuning by an industry that is unlikely to undertake these works at a time when requests are raining down on it for the general increase in military spending in Europe."
Thus, two months ago there was talk of sending 40 Leopard 2A4s after a "tune-up". On June 7, in an interview on Cadena SER, Robles confirmed that "this shipment is on the table", but that the tanks would need some "repairs" which he described as "important" as they are currently "not in use". However, On June 23, the newspaper Heraldo de Aragón ruled out sending the tanks, citing military sources, who alleged that this decision had been made after verifying that it would take "quite a lot of time" to recover the tanks and, in addition, the Ukrainian military should be trained to use them. An offer made a month earlier but suddenly discarded, in a new lurch by the Spanish Ministry of Defense.
On July 12 the delivery was reduced to 10 Leopard 2A4 and 20 M-113
On July 12 we met a new lurch: the Spanish Ministry of Defense reduced to 10 Leopard 2A4 and 20 M-113, a ridiculous amount compared to the 40 tanks that were discussed on June 5, and also regarding the 1,250 M-113s that the Army has. This information, filtered by the Ministry to Infodefensa, did not even contemplate the possible delivery of Aspide surface-to-air missiles that El País spoke about on the 5th of June. In this new information, the Ministry pointed out that the Ukrainian government would bear the costs of updating and modernizing the Leopard 2A4 stored in Zaragoza, and pointed out that to deliver those 10 battle tanks it would be necessary to "cannibalize" 15 or 20, due to the lack of spare parts. Three weeks after that information was published, the minister ruled out the shipment of the tanks, and did not say anything about the M-113 and the Aspide.
Sánchez only bought time until Ukraine ceased to be news
What we have seen in these last two months has been a pathetic succession of excuses and contradictory information to delay Ukraine and buy time until the invasion no longer received so much attention from the media, such a way that it would be free for the Sánchez government to leave the Ukrainians standing. And unfortunately, it must be said that the government has been successful in its propaganda strategy: at the time of publishing these lines, none of the opposition parties has yet reproached the government for not sending a single tank to Ukraine, while other countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have sent a considerable part of their armored fleet.
Either the Government is lying, or the state of its Armed Forces has been ignored for 4 years
If the statement made today by Margarita Robles is true, what the Spanish Government is saying is that it has taken two months to find out the status of the Leopard 2A4s stored in Zaragoza, or worse still, that in 4 years of Government has not obtained information on what was the situation of those tanks. That is to say, that either the Government is lying, or it is that it is not aware of the state of the material of the Spanish Armed Forces. The second explanation would be credible if two months ago there had been no talk of the possible delivery of 40 tanks, to later reduce them to 10 and now leave them at zero. This Government no longer has any credibility.
Spain's ridiculous military aid to Ukraine and Sánchez's pro-Russian partners
Until now, Spain is one of the European countries that has sent the least military aid to Ukraine, something incomprehensible being one of the largest countries in terms of population and territory. Even small countries such as Luxembourg and Estonia have contributed more than Spain. Obviously, this lack of aid is not due to the fact that Spain has few military resources, because it does not. Pedro Sánchez governs with the Podemos communists, which was labeled a "pro-Russian party" by the Russian pro-government newspaper Pravda.ru in 2014 due to its consistent alignment with the Kremlin's foreign policy. Podemos has systematically opposed sending military aid to Ukraine, and the socialists of the PSOE -Sánchez's party- have ended up copying that attitude, just as they have copied his interventionist and demagogic economic recipes.
Meanwhile, Sánchez buys more gas from Russia than ever
The most striking thing about this case is that the Spanish government has closed the door to sending tanks to Ukraine only 4 days after Pedro Sánchez's visit to Serbia, a country with an openly pro-Russian government that has refused to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Far from reproaching him for that attitude, Sánchez openly displayed his support for Serbia to become a member of the European Union. And now the news comes that he will not send tanks to Ukraine. In case that wasn't enough, Sánchez's Government has multiplied by 4 the purchase of Russian gas in the midst of the invasion of Ukraine. With this coalition Government of socialists and communists, Spain is playing a dismal role in Europe.
Main photo: La Moncloa. Pedro Sánchez with Volodímir Zelenski during the visit of the President of the Government of Spain to Ukraine on April 21, 2022.
Don't miss the news and content that interest you. Receive the free daily newsletter in your email:
The mail subscription service to Counting Stars will allow you to receive in your mailbox a daily email with the new posts published in this blog. It is a free service. Once you have entered your email in this box and press the "Click to subscribe" black button, you will receive a confirmation email in your mailbox to activate your subscription. If at any time you want to unsubscribe, you only just have to click the link that you will find at the bottom of each newsletter.