Spain is among the countries that have sent the fewest weapons to Ukraine

by Lorraine Williamson
weapons to Ukraine
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MADRID – Spain is one of the countries that has been least involved in shipping weapons and war material to Ukraine since the beginning of the war. 

In eight months since the start of the conflict, the Spanish contribution has amounted to €56 million in military aid. That is a big difference from Italy’s €150 million, France’s €216 or the €743 million from Germany. In addition, Spain mainly sent slightly defensive material. This includes non-offensive elements such as helmets, armoured ambulances, campaign uniforms and suits for cold climates. And also fuel and anti-tank and machine gun ammunition. However, virtually no heavy weapons, despite repeated requests to the country by Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky. 

Kiel Institute 

Spain’s contribution to military aid is less than 0.1% of all that Kyiv has received. This is according to a study by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, an independent and non-profit economic research centre in Germany. Tthis centre is considered one of the 50 most influential in the world. Since the invasion began, it has been closely monitoring the military, humanitarian and economic aid allocated to each of the 40 Western countries analysed. 

The institute has also compared the amount of aid that each of the countries has pledged and sent to Ukraine.

Aid worth more than €38 billion

Of the 40 countries analysed, only 32 countries sent the aforementioned military aid. Meanwhile the remaining 8 contributed with humanitarian and/or financial resources. In the latest update of October 3, the Institute indicates that the amount committed by the partners in military affairs is more than €38 billion. However, the figure does not yet include the €500 million announced by the European Union last Monday. That aid, which would be increased to €3.1 billion, would be allocated by the 27 under the European Peace Support Fund to this objective. 

Spain at number twenty 

Totally, Spain has allocated €55,500,758 to light weapons and military equipment. This is a small contribution that places the country at the bottom of major world powers. These include;

  • the United States (€15.2 billion)
  • the United Kingdom (€1.48 billion)
  • Canada (€931 million)
  • Germany (€743 million)
  • France (€216 million)
  • Italy (€150 million)
  • Greece (€161 million)

More support from Baltic republics 

Spain’s efforts have always been considerably less than those of other smaller countries. Even though they have less bloated economies and fewer armed forces than the Spanish. This is the case with the Baltic republics (Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia). These countries have suffered for years under the Kremlin yoke. However, they have now turned to the Ukrainian people by offering all kinds of weapons and aid. 

Spain offered other forms of support 

It should be noted that the Spanish government has assisted Ukraine with other forms of aid than just the military. The country’s total contribution to Kyiv is €347 million, including humanitarian goods (€92 million) and financial donations (€200 million). In this way and according to the German observatory, Spain occupies the sixteenth position. This is partly thanks to the shipment of medicines, the transfer of wounded, the reception of refugees and the training of Ukrainian soldiers in Spain, such as those who have just arrived in Kyiv from Zaragoza. 

Displeased 

“We are grateful, but I cannot say that we are satisfied. Nor that we receive everything that Spain could provide,” said Serhii Phoreltsev, Ukraine’s ambassador to Madrid. This was said during his country’s Independence Day celebrations in August. He pointed out that on several occasions, Kyiv has provided a list of weapons with which it must withstand Russia. However, as yet, they have not been given any part. “Ukraine needs more weapons,” he stressed. One of the keys to the success of the Ukrainian counter-offensive lies in the military aid it receives from much of Western countries. They control much more modern weapon systems than the ones they had and are more advanced than those used by the Russian army. 

See also: Spain prepares new arms supply to Ukraine 

C&D Solicitors

The aid in the form of weapons has also divided the Spanish government since the start of the invasion last February. The left, in particular, has expressed opposition to the supply of Spanish weapons to Ukraine. The main argument was that “the conflict will not be resolved sooner and could lead to a dangerous and uncertain scenario”. 

It was only in June that Spain decided to go a step further in supporting Ukraine and supplying heavy equipment. On June 5, the Ministry of Defense pledged to send Aspide anti-aircraft missiles, the most requested by Zelensky, to authorities in Kyiv; as well as a score of Armored Caterpillar Transport (TOA) M-113 to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. 

Armoured vehicles never delivered 

Previously, it was planned, together with the TOA M-113 veterans, to transfer a batch of 40 Leopard 2A4 armoured personnel carriers of the Spanish Army that are in reserve in Zaragoza, as Pedro Sánchez had promised during his visit to the Ukrainian capital in April. An ambitious and far-reaching promise as no western country has ever sent tanks to Kyiv. But what was promised was never delivered. 

Days after the announcement of the shipment, the government reported that it needed to be authorised by Germany, as these tanks were German-made. Finally, and after months of delay, Defense Secretary Margarita Robles confessed that they would not send the tanks because of the “sorrowful condition” they were in. This episode has damaged the Ukrainian president’s confidence in Spain. 

“Spain continues to support the Ukrainian people” in a “firm commitment that has developed since the beginning of this war,” Robles noted. She also pointed out that “our country has not stopped sending material for the legitimate defence of the Ukrainian people.” 

Following the Ukrainian ambassador’s statements, the government announced a new convoy to Ukraine with light all-terrain vehicles, ambulances and medical supplies to cover logistical and medical needs of the highest priority for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. That convoy was received last Monday by Robles at Rzeszow Air Base, the main logistics base in Poland from which the material is distributed. 

Little transparent 

Spain is not only the country that uses the least money and material to help Ukraine but also one of the countries that creates the most obstacles in reporting to Kyiv. According to the Kiel Institute, Spain is one of the six least transparent countries, alongside Finland, France, Italy, Japan and Portugal. In recent weeks, several of these countries have started to give more information about the aid promised and sent. Spain is not among them. 

In military matters, the government is against giving details about aid sent to the front. Apart from those involved in Defense and what has been announced, no one knows exactly how much war material has been shipped or how much has been agreed upon but not yet delivered. It is also not clear how much financial support has been sent. 

“Indeed, the Spanish government is not very transparent, if we compare it with those of other countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom or the United States,” Ivan Kharitonov of the Kiel Institute explained to the newspaper El Mundo. “Looking at the recent pledges we include in our database, the Spanish government’s reports still don’t state the full value of the deliveries shipped.” This makes it difficult for the institute to get a complete picture of the Spanish contribution. “To calculate the aid amount, we use the total monetary value of the aid provided by the source” (in this case, the Spanish government reports). 

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