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Spain government split over Ukraine military aid

By AFP

May 28, 2024 10:55 PM


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A split in Spain's coalition government over Madrid's pledge to provide one billion euros in military aid to Ukraine broke out on Tuesday after a far-left cabinet minister described the amount as "very high".

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez signed a security deal with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday in Madrid which includes a commitment to provide military support to Kyiv worth one billion euros this year.

The Spanish prime minister said this would allow "Ukraine to boost its capabilities including its essential air defence systems to protect its civilians, cities and infrastructure".

But Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz -- the leader of far-left party Sumar, the junior partners in Sanchez's coalition government -- criticised the amount.

"These are very high sums," she told Spanish public television TVE, accusing Sanchez's Socialist party of a "lack of transparency".

"We learned yesterday from the press that this billion euros was intended for arms for Ukraine," added Diaz, one of three deputy prime ministers.

"Defence policy is very important for the country, and the people have a right to a public debate."

The aid package was approved by Spain's parliament but without specifying who the recipient would be, according to Spanish press reports.

Sanchez's Socialists and Sumar have clashed frequently over foreign policy since they formed their coalition government in 2020, with the far left party highly critical of arms shipments to Ukraine.

According to the Kiel Institute -- which tracks weapons pledged and delivered to Ukraine since the Russian invasion -- Spain has so far committed 330 million euros in military aid, making it a small contributor on a European level.

By comparison, Berlin, Paris and Rome have committed 18.61 billion, 5.65 billion and 1.0 billion euros respectively, while London's contribution stands at 9.22 billion, the figures show.


AFP


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