Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, has paid a flying visit to Latvia to visit Spanish troops in the NATO country as the alliance moves military assets to the east, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Sánchez met other NATO leaders including it´s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, the Prime Minister of Latvia, Arturs Krisjanis Karin, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.
Canada leads the “Adazi” battlegroup based in the country with Spain as the second largest contributor of the 10 NATO nations represented.
All three Baltic countries have in place “tripwire” battlegroups, designed to deter a Russian attack but dangerously exposed if an attack takes place.
The 1,500-large Latvian battlegroup is no exception and is being reinforced with armour and personnel including an additional 150 troops from Spain.
The Spanish contingent consists of an armoured infantry company from the 11th Mechanized Infantry “Extremadura” Brigade supported by 6 Leopard 2E main battle tanks from the I/16th “Mérida” Tank Battalion of the 16th Armoured “Castilla” Regiment and 15 Pizarro infantry fighting vehicles from the I/6th Mechanized Infantry “Cantabria” Battalion of the 6th Infantry Regiment.
Pedro Sánchez stressed that “our unity is our strength,” and that Spain is “fully committed” to supporting the Alliance’s work to strengthen the Eastern Flank and “ready” to respond to Allied appeals.
During the meeting with the Spanish troops, Sánchez expressed, “with pride”, the gratitude he felt for “the dedication, solidarity and generosity of our soldiers. With your dedication and professionalism, you are contributing to a safer world for all.”
He reaffirmed Spain’s unconditional support for Ukraine and the defence of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. “The time for solidarity has come and I can assure you that Spain will rise to the occasion and provide international protection to the maximum number of refugees possible,” he said.
Spain has already delivered the first of its shipments of humanitarian and lethal aid which he said the country will “continue to do.”
Jens Stoltenberg thanked Spain for its contribution to the NATO force, stressing that the country “is leading by example, deploying additional troops, ships and aircraft to strengthen our defensive position in Europe.”
Madrid will host the NATO Summit later this year.