THE SPANISH government announced on Wednesday that it will send Leopard tanks to Ukraine to assist in its defence against Russia, now that Germany has agreed to do the same.
The Socialist Party-led administration is reported to have been waiting for a pan-European agreement to supply the country with the military hardware, which will help it to combat the firepower of Russia’s tanks.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting organised today by Europa Press, the minister for the presidency, Felix Bolaños, said: ‘We of course will stand with our partners in NATO and the EU because unity is what gives the response [to Russia] strength.’
He added that the operation is being carried out in ‘coordination’ with the allied countries, but stopped short of specifying how many units would be sent from Spain.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Margarita Robles told the EFE news agency that Spain is prepared to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine and train Ukrainian fighters how to use them.
The decision to send more military material to Ukraine – Spain began supplying hardware 11 months ago, when the Russian invasion began – will not be debated in the lower house of parliament, the Congress of Deputies.
The Socialists’ junior partner in the coalition government, leftist Unidas Podemos, has already expressed its rejection of the plan, which, it claims, will only lead to an ‘escalation of the conflict’.
It could also, the party added, provoke an ‘unpredictable and dangerous’ response from Russia, given that it is a nuclear power.
The central government lacks a working majority in parliament, meaning it must rely on votes from smaller parties to pass legislation.
Two of these groups, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and the Basque nationalist party EH Bildu, called today for the move to be debated in Congress before it becomes a reality.
‘It’s the basics of democracy,’ said ERC spokesperson Gabriel Rufian. ‘A decision of such importance should pass through Congress.’