After German decision, Spain also wants to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

by Lorraine Williamson
Pedro Sanchez to send tanks to Ukraine

‘Spain is doing what it has to do,’ assured Presidency minister Félix Bolaños. He reported that Defence Minister Margarita Robles would later would give more details on the Spanish contribution. Robles was waiting for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to formally announce delivery of 14 tanks of this type to Ukraine. She then confirmed in statements to news agency EFE Spain’s willingness to send tanks and train in their use. All this “always in coordination with the allies”. However, the minister has not yet indicated how many units could be sent. 

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The state of Spain’s tanks 

Spain has 108 Leopard 2A4 battle tanks, which it bought from Germany. About 50 of them have been parked at the Casetas logistics base (Zaragoza) for more than a decade. Last summer, after the government considered donating these tanks to Ukraine, the defence minister reviewed their condition. 

At the time, she found that about half of them were “in an absolutely deplorable condition” that could put human lives at risk. Furthermore, the remaining tanks of this type claimed by Ukraine are deployed in Ceuta and Melilla. 

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According to the defence minister, ‘the vast majority’ of Spain’s Leopards are in need of overhaul. Tanks in a ‘deplorable’ condition cannot be sent to Ukraine.  

‘Unity all allied countries is priority’ 

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez yesterday defended in Congress his commitment to maintain coordination in sending war material to Ukraine among European partners. After several European partners announced they would send tanks to Ukraine, despite Germany’s opposition, there was no unity. The tanks requested by Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky to stop Russian troops are German-made, so sending them from other countries must be approved by Berlin. 

Sánchez called on the unit to “hold the hands” of European countries, after defence and foreign ministers had also done so in previous days. ‘The priority is the unity of all allied countries,’ Defence Minister Margarita Robles said on Monday. ‘Unity is the best tool to face the challenge,’ said Spain’s head of diplomacy, José Manuel Albares. 

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