By Belén Carreño
MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s defence minister stated on Wednesday Madrid was open to offering Ukraine with German-made Leopard 2 tanks, after Germany agreed to ship the tanks and stated NATO allies might do the identical.
Defence Minister Margarita Robles advised EFE information company that Madrid would act in coordination with its Western allies to assist Ukraine fend off Russia’s invasion.
“Spain is keen, inside this coordination, to work with our allies to do no matter is important together with the sending of Leopards, coaching in using these Leopards and likewise to assist in their upkeep and maintenance,” she stated.
Spain has 108 2A4 tanks, based on safety and defence researcher Felix Arteaga of the Elcano think-tank. The 2A4 is an older, normal mannequin for a lot of European international locations, and Ukrainian tank crews can obtain normal coaching on them.
About half of Spain’s tanks are in its north African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and 53 are mothballed at a army base in Zaragoza and would should be refitted, Arteaga stated.
A supply with data of the matter stated Spain had already assessed the overhaul wants, that each Germany and Ukraine agreed with the associated fee, to be paid from a particular fund, and estimated the tanks could possibly be operative inside two months.
Some are in a worse situation than the others, having been used for spare elements, the supply added.
The tanks could be transported overland throughout Europe by flatbed vehicles in a journey that might take a couple of week, the supply stated.
In late 2022, Spain delivered its largest bundle of defence materiel for Ukraine up to now, sending to the logistics hub in Poland heavy weapons, long-range and anti-tank ammunition.
Spain has despatched 4 U.S.-made HAWK air defence programs and has dedicated to sending two extra. It’s also providing medical remedy to wounded Ukrainian troopers, and air defence coaching at its air base in Toledo.
(Reporting by Belen Carreno, Emma Pinedo, writing by Andrei Khalip, modifying by Aislinn Laing and Timothy Heritage)