The Spanish government did not communicate the shipment of these weapons

Surprise for the secret delivery to Ukraine of the criticized Spanish CETME L rifles

Yesterday the surprise broke out on social networks when it was learned that Ukraine has the criticized Spanish assault rifles CETME L.

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This Sunday, Oryxspioenkop echoed a photo published by the Washington Post that it showed Ukrainian soldiers in a military parade, armed with Spanish CETME L assault rifles . The photo in question, which you can see below these lines, was taken by photojournalist Heidi Levine, correspondent for that American newspaper in Ukraine. In the photo we see Ukrainian soldiers in green berets and MM-14 pixelated camouflage uniforms, the standard of the Ukrainian Army.

Yesterday, Twitter user @GalileoArms, a defense expert who has been following daily all kinds of information about the Russian invasion of Ukraine since its beginning, he pointed out that the soldiers in question are members of the State Border Service of Ukraine (SPSU). Also, GalileoArms has posted this other photo of those Ukrainian border guards with CETME L:

On the Facebook page of the SPSU he found this other photo about that military parade. Gathering the data that we can observe in the other images, what we see is a total of 25 border guards, each one with a CETME L.

These photos were taken on August 24, , Ukraine's Independence Day, during a small military parade held on Sofia Square in Kiev and chaired by the President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelensky, who presented collective decorations to the 8th and to the 9th detachments of the SPSU.

This is the first time that Ukrainian soldiers have been seen with Spanish CETME L rifles. The surprise that these images have caused on social networks is due, in part, to the fact that the Spanish government of Pedro Sánchez did not communicate the shipment of these weapons to Ukraine. Until now, his communications about the shipment of small arms to that country have been noted for their lack of transparency.

Until now, the only light weapons whose shipment was announced in March 2022 were the CETME Ameli, of 5.56x45 NATO caliber. These machine guns, which entered service in 1982 and of which some 1,000 units were manufactured, were sold to the British Army, which returned them due to the poor quality of their materials, and in Spain they were used in the Army, the Marine Infantry and the Civil Guard, generating much criticism due to its manufacturing deficiencies.

A series CETME L (Photo: J.A. Antonaya/Wikimedia).

With CETME L something similar happened. This rifle, also in 5.56x45 NATO caliber, was manufactured since 1984 to replace the old CETME C (also known as "Chopo", poplar, in the Spanish Army, due to its wooden stock and fore-end). The CETME L prototypes turned out to be very good, but the production rifles were made of low quality (they are the ones that appear in the Ukrainian photos that we have just seen), which caused mechanical problems, poor resistance of the butts and faulty aiming. The Civil Guard was saved from the defects of these rifles by receiving an initial batch that was of good quality. In 1999, after less than 15 years of service of the CETME L in the Spanish Army, this rifle began to be replaced by a version of the German Heckler & Koch G-36 rifle manufactured in Spain by Santa Bárbara.

It should be noted that in 2014 Spain has already offered NATO 25,000 CETME L that it had stored, for weapons to the Kurdish militias in northern Iraq against the ISIS terrorists. That idea has already generated criticism for the poor quality of those weapons. Perhaps for this reason, the Sánchez government would have preferred to hide the shipment to avoid criticism for sending defective rifles to Ukraine.

In any case, having these weapons is better than having nothing, and one wonders if a border guard will put them to the same exhaustive use as a soldier on the front line. So far, the State Border Service of Ukraine has been seen with old Kalashnikov rifles (usually AKM and AK-74 from the Soviet era) and with the more modern Ukrainian Zbroyar Z-15 rifles, caliber 5.56 mm. It is the first time that they have been seen with the CETME L and it was at a military parade.

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