The Spanish Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, confirmed yesterday, Wednesday 25th January that Spain “ was open to providing Ukraine with a number of their German-made Leopard 2 tanks, after Germany agreed to send the tanks and said that allies could do the same.
The Minister said that “Spain is willing, within this coordination, to work with our allies to do whatever is necessary including the sending of Leopards, training in the use of these Leopards and also to help in their maintenance and upkeep.”
Spain has over 300 Leopard tanks of which 108 are the 2A4 variant which is the older model being offered.
It is believed that some 53 mothballed tanks at a military base in Zaragoza have been earmarked to be refitted and sent.
Last week, the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, told delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Spain has already sent some 300 million Euros worth of equipment to Ukraine including heavy weapons such as four U.S.-made HAWK air defence systems since the Russian invasion of the country.
Spain is also hosting and training Ukrainian troops in air-defence.
Sanchez said that Spain ” will remain united, and we’ll be coordinating with the rest of our allies, especially Europe.”
However not all approve – Sanchez´s government coalition partner, Unidas Podemos, are against the move and said Spain should not send the tanks as it would only “escalate” the conflict and that Russia’s reaction could be “dangerous and unpredictable.”
Other European allies are also sending Leopards – there are an estimated 2,000 of the German made tanks in European armies.
Germany itself is sending one company of 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks “as a first step” – it is expected to send many more
Poland has announced it will also be sending an initial batch of 14 of the tanks.
The UK had already pledged 14 British Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Andriy Yermak, the head of Zelenskyy’s office, welcomed the German “first step.”
“Leopards are very much needed,” he said while Ukrainian President Zelenskyy announced on Twitter that he was “sincerely grateful to the Chancellor and all our friends in” Germany.
At the NATO Summit in Madrid last year, the Spanish Government announced that the country would increase defence spending to the alliance´s 2% target of GDP by 2029.