Spain to join Leopard tank supply for Ukraine – El Pais
Spain decided to join the supply of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. This happened after Germany finally made a similar decision, El Pais reports.
Asked on Tuesday afternoon, during the plenary session of Congress, about the possible delivery of Leopard to Ukraine, the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, limited himself to reiterating his commitment to European countries going "hand in hand" in this issue. "We are going to maintain unity, and we are going to coordinate with the rest of the allies and, above all, with Europe," he replied.
The government of Pedro Sánchez later conditioned its participation in the operation on the existence of an agreement at the European level and today confirmed that it will join this strategy.
The Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, as well as the Prime Minister's Office, are evaluating what assistance Spain can provide.
The Spanish Army is one of the ones with the most Leopard tanks, 347 in total. Of this number, 239 correspond to the Leopard 2E model, manufactured in Spain, and 108 are Leopard 2 A4, which were bought second-hand from Germany in 1995 as a preamble to the contract for the manufacture of battle tanks in Spain.
Spain could also collaborate in training Ukrainian tankers and mechanics. The defense already offered at the time that the crews of the Leopards that Kyiv was to receive would be trained in Latvia, where the Spanish Army has 600 soldiers and six tanks of this model stationed within the NATO Reinforced Advanced Presence (eFP) mission. Spain could also supply ammunition for the Leopard (120-mm projectiles). Still, it would be at the cost of its own army stocks since it does not manufacture it or a larger number of TOA M-113 armored personnel carriers, of which it has already promised to donate about twenty.
If Spain was the first country to offer Leopard tanks to Kyiv in the summer, now it has remained in the discreet background. While Poland announced its intention to send a company of these vehicles to Ukraine, even without German approval, the Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, assured last week that the matter was not, at that time, "on the table" of the Spanish Government.
According to Spiegel, Germany should finally decide on the transfer of Leopard 2A6 tanks today. According to the publication, it means Ukraine will be provided with at least one company of Leopard 2A6 tanks. According to NATO standards, it is about 14 units of equipment.
In addition, the country received Poland's official request for permission to transfer German Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
"The Germans have already received our request for consent to transfer Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. I also call on the German side to join the coalition of countries that support Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. This is our common cause because it concerns the security of the whole of Europe," said Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.
As reported, the Netherlands intends to purchase 18 more Leopard tanks for Ukraine.
"We leased them, which means we can buy them, which means we can give them away for free," PM Rutte said.
He emphasized the understanding of Ukraine's need for Western tanks. Also, he added that such a step makes sense only in coordination with other countries, such as Finland and Portugal, but there is no solution yet.