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Written by SOT.COM.AL 30 Mars 2023
Spain plans to supply Ukraine with 10 German-made Leopard main battle tanks of the older 2A4 type, with six arriving in the next two weeks, but will not send fighter jets to Kiev, Defense Minister Margarita Robles said.
The other four tanks will be sent at a later date because they need to undergo repairs to make them fit for service, she said during a parliamentary debate on Spanish military aid to Ukraine.
The minister has "categorically" ruled out the sending of warplanes.
She said Spain does not have F-16 fighter jets. Other models are not discussed because Ukrainian pilots would need a training period of up to two years, Robles argued in the lower house of parliament.
She said an escalation of fighting in Ukraine was expected, which could lead to a "bloody spring".
The exact date for the delivery of the first Leopard tanks from Spain was being discussed.
El País newspaper reported that repairs on the first six vehicles had been completed, but that the tanks still needed to be tested before being delivered to Córdoba in the south of the country.
In recent weeks, 55 Ukrainians have trained for Leopards in Spain as crew members and technicians.
In total, Spain has 347 Leopard tanks. Of these, 108 belong to the older 2A4 variant and 239 to the newer 2A6 type. Spain has not committed to handing over any of these new, more powerful tanks to Ukraine, arguing that they are needed for the country's defense.
Ukraine's armed forces have already received about 30 Leopard 2 tanks from Germany, Canada and Poland to fend off Russian attackers. In addition to Leopards, Ukraine has received other models of tanks and armored vehicles, and some allies have promised fighter jets.