Ukraine Asks Spain for Air Defense, Weapons

Ukraine’s defense minister said Wednesday he had asked his Spanish counterpart to supply air defenses, including F-16 jets, and more ammunition to fend off Russia’s invasion.

While Western allies, led by the United States, have been supporting Ukraine with military training and weapons, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said still more was needed to help end Europe’s deadliest conflict since WWII.

“For us, the number one priority is air defense,” he told a joint news conference with Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles.

“We are very interested in contemporary air planes of the new generation. We are interested in F-16 jets,” he said.

“Because for us, destroying Russia’s air dominance is paramount,” he added.

Reznikov also said he had asked for 150 mm and 105 mm artillery munitions and amphibious vehicles.

Robles said the six Leopard battle tanks Spain had promised Ukraine would be “physically in Ukraine before the end of the month.”

Spain will also send 20 armored personnel carriers along with them, the minister added.

Madrid has said it could send an additional four Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine and Robles said Wednesday these would be dispatched “as soon as possible.”

Ukraine is expected to launch an attack on invading Russian troops in the spring — its first major military push of the year.

A steady drip of dozens of leaked US documents and slides have made their way onto social media in recent days with information about Ukraine’s preparations and readiness.

A February 2023 document marked “secret” seen recently by AFP, said 89 percent of Ukrainian medium- and high-range air defenses was made up of SA-10 and SA-11 Soviet-era systems that could soon run short of ammunition.

Both ministers denied claims in the leaked documents that NATO troops were on the ground in Ukraine.

“It is not true,” Reznikov said, while Robles called the reports “completely false.”

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