27 May 2024, 19:13

Ukraine's Zelensky in Madrid to sign Spain security deal

MADRID, May 27, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky
landed in Spain Monday for talks with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez with the
pair due to ink a deal increasing Madrid's military aid to Kyiv.

As he touched down at Madrid's Barajas airport at 1000 GMT, Zelensky was met
on the tarmac by King Felipe VI and then headed straight into the Spanish
capital to meet Sanchez where the two leaders were to sign a security

The visit comes as Ukraine battles a Russian ground offensive in the
northeastern 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.

After their meeting, the two leaders were expected to hold a news conference,
Sanchez's office said.

Zelensky was then expected at the Royal Palace for talks followed by "a lunch
in his honour" hosted by King Felipe and Queen Letizia, a palace statement

Zelensky had been due to visit on May 17, but postponed his trip after
Russian troops began a major assault on the Kharkiv region.

According to El Pais newspaper, Monday's deal would include 1.1 billion euros
worth of military aid and include new Patriot missiles and Leopard tanks.

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

By comparison, Berlin, Paris and Rome have committed 18.61 billion, 5.65
billion and 1.0 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.

Although the Ukranian leader was in southern Spain for an EU summit in
October, it was his first official visit to Spain since taking power in 2019.

Last week, Sanchez told parliament the two nations were also preparing to
sign a bilateral cooperation agreement.

"As soon as the situation on the front allows, we will sign an agreement with
Ukraine that will increase economic, social and institutional cooperation
between our countries," he said.

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