Spain pledges 1 billion euros of military aid to Ukraine in 2024

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Ukraine needs at least seven more Patriot launchers to defend itself against Russian air attacks.

Zelenskyy
From left, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez with a security deal they signed at Moncloa Palace in Madrid [Oscar Del Pozo/AFP]

Spain has pledged 1 billion euros ($1.1bn) in military aid to Ukraine as Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a security deal in Madrid.

The deal “includes a commitment for 1 billion euros in military aid for 2024”, Sanchez said at a joint news conference on Monday.

The pact, which covers the next decade, calls for the supply of modern military equipment for ground, aerial, naval and other uses, “prioritising Ukraine’s key capacity needs”, and an emphasis on protecting sea routes for Ukraine’s food exports, but it gave no specifics.

“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,” Sanchez said, referring to a Russian strike on the northeastern city that killed at least 16 people at a hardware hypermarket on Saturday.

Zelenskyy visited the Spanish capital as Ukraine battles a Russian ground offensive in the Kharkiv region that began on May 10 and has seen Moscow make its biggest territorial advances in 18 months.

With Russia’s full-scale invasion 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.

Sanchez said Spain had already pledged to supply Patriot missiles but what Zelenskyy needed from Ukraine’s allies was “the systems to launch these missiles”.

In a post on the social media platform X, Zelenskyy thanked Spain for “its tangible and truly life-saving support to Ukraine in this time of war” and said he also discussed how Madrid could play a role in strengthening Kyiv’s air defences.

Spain will send “another batch of Leopard tanks and above all ammunition”, Sanchez said, pledging to keep working with Kyiv “to understand how else – and with what other alternative systems – we can help ensure Ukraine’s air security”.

Zelenskyy has signed bilateral security agreements with several other countries, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

He said Ukraine needed at least seven more Patriot missile launchers to defend itself and would pressure its allies to obtain them.

The president said Russian forces have used about 3,200 guided aerial bombs this month.

“How do you fight that? There aren’t enough air defence missiles to stop thousands of bombs a month. … Those partners who are afraid to give us this or that weapon should understand that air defence is defence, not offence,” he added.

Zelenskyy will next visit the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, where he is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Luis Montenegro and President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on Tuesday and is expected to sign a similar 10-year agreement.

Source: News Agencies