The Spanish government have ramped up their response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine by announcing a series of further measures made in conjunction with EU and NATO partners.
The first punitive measure against Russia is the implementation of the EU banning of aircraft operated by Russian air carriers, including by code-share partners from entering Spanish airspace.
This will affect two Russian airlines, Aeroflot and Siberia Airlines, who operate direct flights between Moscow and Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante and Malaga.
Spain has also proposed imposing similar measures in the maritime sector including the banning Russian flagged ships from Spanish ports and preventing Russian ships or those owned by Russian companies from entering Spanish waters.
In addition, the government has agreed to join the EU implementation of economic sanctions against Russia, including the exclusion of Russian banks from SWIFT.
This could have a particularly hard effect on the nearly 100,000 Russian residents in Spain, many of whom have business interests spanning the two countries.
In line with European partners Spain will block Russian media outlets including Russia Today and Sputnik from broadcasting in Spain.
The government has set up a Situation Committee, to “analyse the impact of these initiatives and any new ones that may need to be adopted, always in coordination with the European Union.”
The Spanish Minister for Defence, Margarita Robles, today Monday 28th February, attended the loading of one of the two A400M cargo aircraft from the 31st Air Force Wing at the Torrejón Air Base, near Madrid, which will transport the first 20 tonnes of personal protective equipment and medical supplies to Ukraine.
The planes will land the cargo at an undisclosed airport in Poland, close to the Ukrainian border, where it will be picked up by the Ukrainian authorities.
The non lethal cargo consists of medical supplies (masks, gloves and medical protection suits) and defence and personal protective equipment provided by the army (helmets, flak jackets and NBC protection waistcoats).
It is believed that the Spanish government is studying adding lethal aid in the form of weapons to the Ukrainan armed forces.
The European Union yesterday agreed for the first time to provide some €500 million in arms and other aid to the Ukrainian military,in a move described as a “watershed moment” in its history by the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
She added that “ for first time ever, the EU will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack.”