Spain pledges 1 bln euros in military aid to Kyiv as Zelensky visits

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Spain today pledged one billion euros in military aid to Ukraine as Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a security deal in Madrid.

The deal “includes a commitment for one billion euros in military aid for 2024,” Sanchez told a joint news conference

“It will allow Ukraine to boost its capabilities including its essential air defence systems to protect its civilians, cities and infrastructure which are still suffering indiscriminate attacks as seen this weekend in Kharkiv,” he said, referring to a Russian strike on the northeastern city that killed at least 16 people.

Zelensky’s visit comes as Ukraine has been battling a Russian ground offensive in the Kharkiv region which began on May 10 in Moscow’s biggest territorial advance in 18 months.

With the Russian assault now in its third year, Ukraine has been pleading for more weapons for its outgunned and outnumbered troops, notably seeking help to address its lack of air defence systems.

According to El Pais newspaper, the deal would include new Patriot missiles and Leopard tanks.

Zelensky has already signed bilateral security agreements with several countries including France, Germany and the UK.

Sanchez said the security agreement would cover a range of a different issues.

“The agreement is based on a comprehensive overview of security and covers various areas such as military, humanitarian and financial support, as well as collaboration between Spanish and Ukrainian defence industries, as well as help with reconstruction and de-mining among other things,” he said.

Until now, Madrid has only provided limited military aid to Kyiv.

According to the Kiel Institute, which tracks weapons pledged and delivered to Ukraine since the Russian invasion, Spain has so far committed 330 million euros in military aid, making it a small contributor on a European level.

By comparison, Berlin, Paris and Rome have committed 18.61 billion, 5.65 billion and 1 billion euros respectively, while London’s contribution stands at 9.22 billion, the figures show.

In April, Spain pledged to send an unspecified number of Patriot air defence missile systems to Ukraine. It has also sent 10 Leopard tanks.

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