Spanish PM Sánchez with Zelensky in Kyiv, earlier this year. / efe

Biggest security operation in Spanish history planned for Nato summit in Madrid later this month

Nobody knows yet whether President Zelensky of Ukraine will be attending but the government is taking no chances and 10,000 officers will be deployed just to protect the VIPs

MELCHOR SÁIZ-PARDO Madrid

Spain's Ministry of the Interior is finalising details of Operación Eirene, the massive security operation for the Nato summit which will be taking place on 29 and 30 June in Madrid.

Named after the Greek goddess of peace, and clearly alluding to the war in Ukraine, it is the biggest security operation in Spanish history, according to the Ministry of the Interior. However, two weeks before such an important international event the government still doesn’t know whether Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenski will be attending.

“We are preparing for any eventuality,” said sources at the ministry on Thursday. More than 10,000 police and Guardia Civil officers will be deployed to protect the VIPs, but several thousand more people will be involved in the security operation, including cybersecurity experts.

Spain's Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska. / EFE

Hundreds of soldiers and air force personnel will also be mobilised if the air space over part of Madrid is closed during the summit (this has not yet been confirmed), and fighter jets will also be on alert. However, the Ministry of the Interior says the armed forces will not be involved in Operation Eirene itself.

The strategic points from a security point of view include Barajas and Torrejón airports, the Royal Palace, the Prado Museum, the Palacio de Santa Cruz and places of interest which will be visited by those accompanying the delegates.

Constant alert

The Centre of Intelligence against Terrorism and Organised Crime (Citco) will issue daily reports to the government about threats, risks and possible mobilisations before and during the summit. Madrid will go into ‘alert phase’ on 24 June, and the ‘critical phase’ will begin on 27 June and continue until the summit is over.