Germany prevents Spain from sending tanks to Ukraine


The best plans…

Corresponding, a Spanish-language security and defense news website, the Spanish Ministry of Defense was considering the possible donation of twenty M113 armored personnel carriers (APC) and ten German-made Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks to the Ukrainian military. These vehicles were to be taken from the Spanish defense inventory and sent to defend Ukraine against its Russian invaders. The donation would be in response to Kiev’s repeated requests for more vehicles of this type in its ongoing war.

So far, Spain has only been willing to send defense aid. However, Infodefensa reported that in July, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez ordered the return of 30 vehicles loaded with over 200 tons of ammunition. Unfortunately, the ammunition did not make it through the Polish port of Gdynia before being recalled home. Not surprisingly, this greatly angered Ukrainian officials, who expected to receive more offensive aid of this nature in the future.

A Spanish M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) is shown here at the San Gregorio Training Center in Zaragoza, Spain. Image Credit: Cpl Jeraco Jenkins/US Marine Corps

Infodefensa informs us that the transfer was proposed somewhat unusually. The armaments were to be handed over to Ukraine, and after they took ownership, Kyiv was to finance their replacement in Spain with funds from Europe Fund for Peace. This would require Ukrainian officials to sign a contract to replace the old military equipment with new ones. Sources familiar with the proposal estimate the cost of this deal at five to fifteen million euros. It could have taken until the end of the year to work out the details of the agreement and deliver the goods. Ukraine would undoubtedly have benefited from a much faster schedule.

According to our sources, see above, for this deal, Spain would need the approval of the United States and Germany because of planned weapons system modifications. However, when this was proposed in mid-July, the Spanish saw no problem with it.

Serhii Pohorelstev, the Ukrainian ambassador to Spain, was instrumental in urging the Spanish for offensive military aid after learning that the Spanish army had a significant stockpile of armored vehicles. After looking closely at these vehicles, it was found that many were unserviceable. In particular, the Leopard 2A4 tanks, which the Ukrainians considered, were designated as having one “Different operating status.” It’s a translation from Spanish, but that’s how I would understand it “currently not in perfect condition.” Some had sat for a decade with minimal maintenance.

As noted above, the US and Germany would need to agree to the deal before the armor is shipped. German media giant The mirror pointed this out that if Berlin agrees to the deal, it would be the first time a NATO member has sent main battle tanks to Ukraine. They also went on to report that the Spanish had had a change of heart and denied wanting to send the aging armor to Ukraine. They went so far as to say that Madrid apologized to Berlin for the uproar.

But many believe that Germany was also involved in blocking the transfer of tanks. According to “mirror” “The Scholz government warned Spain that this would represent a departure from an allegedly informal decision by the West not to supply Western tanks to Ukraine.”

finger pointing

So blame who, but it appears both nations were involved in slowing down the transaction. As reported this week in European Pravda, Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles said she cannot currently send the German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine because they are in a “absolutely miserable condition”

Robles explained to the press:

“We are examining all options today, but I can already say that the leopards in Zaragoza, which have not been used for many years, cannot be sent [to Ukraine] because they are in an absolutely miserable state. We cannot give them away because they would pose a risk to the people using them.”

Call me crazy, but why didn’t the Spanish coordinate with the Germans to fix things when they discovered how badly they were falling apart? It’s not that Germany doesn’t have the spare parts or the know-how. That’s correct; The Germans scrapped the whole idea after deciding the West had an informal agreement not to send tanks to Ukraine.

European Pravda also noted that French President Emmanuel Macron recently took a position on the issue and stated this “For fear of being drawn into a war with Russia, Western countries had an agreement not to supply certain types of weapons to Ukraine.”


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