The actions of social democratic governments such as Germany and Sweden in their defence of Ukraine has rather embarrassed Spain, which, to date, has only provided medical equipment, 100 hospital beds. However, this could change shortly after the Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, announced on Monday that Spain will reinforce the contingents deployed on the border with Russia by sending more soldiers.
Ministers are meeting with the EU Defence Staff to discuss the situation, in an unprecedented measure, that will provide community funds to finance the shipment of weapons to Ukraine, as well as making fighter jets available to Kiev to reinforce its air force in the midst of the Russian offensive.
Robles has also announced the reinforcement of 800 Spanish soldiers who will be deployed in countries bordering Russia.
Without providing exact details Robles has guaranteed that Spain will be part of the reinforcement measures to the borders with Russia. “NATO’s position is to reinforce the borders of the allied countries and Spain will be definitely be involved,” she said.
The invasion of Ukraine has provoked a reaction from the EU that has surprised Moscow and is symbolized by the strategic change in pacifist Germany, which in a historic turn will increase its Defence budget to 2% of GDP (100,000 million), as well as that of neutral Sweden, which has sent military weapons to Kiev to face the Russian offensive, in what constitutes the first military supply to a country in conflict since the Soviet invasion of Finland in 1939.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski on Monday that the member states of the Atlantic Alliance will increase military support for Kiev by sending more weapons to be used against the Russian Army. “NATO allies will increase their support with anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank weapons, as well as humanitarian and financial aid,” Stoltenberg said during a call to the Ukrainian president.
The deployment of troops from Spain
Spain currently has 800 soldiers and battle tanks, fighters and Naval vessels deployed in Eastern Europe. The Spanish Air Force is deployed in Bulgaria with a contingent made up of four Eurofighter combat aircraft and some 150 troops. It is an air policing mission to deter and identify Russian aircraft that fly through its airspace without complying with international flight regulations.
In addition, since 2017, Spain has participated in a land deployment force of the Atlantic Alliance in Latvia, where it has deployed some 350 troops with the Leonardo and Pizarro battle tanks in a deterrence operation in front of the Russian border.
This is a mission launched by NATO with the aim of deploying a military force along the border to provide a deterrent effect against a possible threat from Russia. There is a total of 4,000 troops from different nations divided into four ‘battle groups’ located in Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Latvia.
In addition, the Navy has three ships working within NATO groups in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The ships are with the NATO naval groups SNMG2 and SNMCMG2. Those involved are the frigate, Blas de Lezo, the offshore patrol vessel Meteoro and the minesweeper Sella, with a total of 320 naval ratings.