A tank in Ukraine. / REUTERS

Spain rules out sending heavy weapons to Ukraine, despite request from NATO

The Atlantic Alliance considers it “crucial” to continue to arm Kyiv but Madrid says there is no consensus and the option is not on the table

OLATZ HERNÁNDEZ Brussels

The Atlantic Alliance stressed on Thursday, 7 April, that support for the Ukraine army “is crucial” in the new phase of the Russian invasion. NATO general secretary Jens Stoltenberg called on the allies to send “light and heavy equipment” to Kyiv, a message that was also underlined by the Ukrainian foreign minister Dmitro Kuleba.

Nevertheless, some countries have already ruled out sending offensive weapons to Ukraine, including Spain, whose foreign minister José Manuel Albares said “there is no coordinated action” for sending this material and insisted that the option of sending tanks and planes is not on the table.

In the face of the divided opinion between the allied countries about sending arms to Ukraine, Kuleba once again called on them to support Kyiv against the Russian aggression. “There are no differences between offensive and defensive military equipment, because we only use weapons to defend ourselves,” he said, and urged NATO to send more. “It is urgent and needs to be done now, because otherwise it could arrive too late,” he warned.

Defence systems

“My agenda is very simple and there are only three points on it: weapons, weapons and weapons,” he said after the NATO meeting. He explained that Kyiv particularly needs heavy equipment, including “planes as well as short-range missiles, armoured vehicles and heavy defence systems”.

The massacre in Bucha has accelerated the adoption of new sanctions and many states have reaffirmed their support for Ukraine. However, what happened in this Kyiv suburb is “only the tip of the iceberg of the Russian invasion. We have reports saying that what is happening in Mariupol is much worse,” said Kuleba.

The Ukrainian authorities are “cautiously optimistic” about support from NATO countries and wary of the peace negotiations with Moscow, but they are not giving up on dialogue. “If it is the way of avoiding more Buchas then we will do it,” he said.