Ukraine and Spain ink landmark bilateral security agreement

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Zelensky

On May 27, Monday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky landed in Spain to sign a crucial bilateral security agreement with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. This visit, which marks a significant milestone in Ukraine’s ongoing battle against Russian aggression, highlights the increasing support from European allies. Zelensky’s arrival at Madrid’s Barajas airport was met with a warm reception from King Felipe VI before he proceeded to the Spanish capital for discussions with Sanchez.

The agreement comes at a critical juncture as Ukraine grapples with a renewed Russian offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region. This assault, which began on May 10, represents Moscow’s most significant territorial advance in 18 months. In response, Ukraine has been fervently seeking additional military aid to bolster its outgunned and outnumbered forces, particularly in enhancing its air defense capabilities.

During their meeting, Zelensky and Sanchez signed a comprehensive security cooperation agreement that not only increases Spain’s military aid to Ukraine but also cements Spain’s long-term commitment to support Ukraine’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders as of 1991. The agreement, which extends over a 10-year term, includes an immediate provision of €1 billion in military aid for the year 2024. Additionally, Spain has pledged to continue providing multifaceted support, potentially reaching €5 billion by 2027.

The deal also incorporates a wide range of support measures, including the supply of modern military equipment such as Patriot missiles and Leopard tanks. These additions are crucial for Ukraine’s defense infrastructure, particularly in countering aerial threats. Spain had previously committed to sending an unspecified number of Patriot air defense missile systems and 10 Leopard tanks to Ukraine, marking a significant step up from its earlier contributions.

Beyond immediate military aid, the agreement encompasses several long-term strategic initiatives. Spain has joined multiple Capability Coalitions under the Ukrainian Defence Contact Group, including those focused on integrated air and missile defense, artillery, armor, maritime security, IT, and demining. These efforts are designed to enhance the interoperability between Ukrainian and NATO forces and bolster Ukraine’s overall defense capabilities.

The bilateral cooperation also extends to non-military aspects. Spain has committed to supporting the development of Ukraine’s Security and Defense Forces, including medical training and prosthetics for soldiers. Furthermore, the agreement aims to strengthen Ukraine’s maritime security and deepen intelligence cooperation. The fight against organized crime and the development of Ukraine’s defense industry are also key components of the partnership, with both nations exploring opportunities for joint production and potential funding sources for Ukraine’s defense sector.

Humanitarian aid and economic recovery are integral parts of the agreement. Spain will provide substantial support for Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts and assist in implementing reforms essential for Ukraine’s path to EU and NATO membership. The agreement aligns with Ukraine’s Peace Formula, aiming to strengthen sanctions against Russia and establish mechanisms for compensating war damages and holding the aggressor accountable.

This agreement is part of a broader initiative, following the Joint Declaration adopted by Ukraine and G7 members in Vilnius on July 12, 2023. Spain becomes the tenth country to sign such a bilateral security agreement with Ukraine, joining a growing list of nations committed to supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and defense. Other countries that have signed similar agreements include the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Denmark, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, and Latvia.

During a press conference following the signing, Prime Minister Sanchez emphasized Spain’s unwavering support for Ukraine. “Spain is committed to supporting Ukraine as long as necessary to restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he stated. This year’s aid package will include significant air defense support to help Ukraine counter Russian aerial attacks, alongside ongoing provision of modern military equipment and support for medical and prosthetic services for Ukrainian soldiers.

Zelensky’s visit, which included a ceremonial lunch hosted by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, underscores the strengthening ties between Ukraine and Spain. The Ukrainian leader expressed his gratitude for Spain’s support and highlighted the importance of international solidarity in the face of Russian aggression.

This agreement marks a pivotal moment in Ukraine’s defense strategy and its diplomatic relations within Europe. As Ukraine continues to fight for its sovereignty, the support from allies like Spain is crucial. The comprehensive nature of the agreement, covering military, economic, and humanitarian aspects, reflects a robust and enduring partnership aimed at securing peace and stability in the region.

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