Ukraine, Spain Sign $1 Billion Bilateral Security Deal

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(RFE/RL) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez have signed a bilateral security agreement that provides for Madrid to provide Ukraine with 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) in military aid this year.

The announcement was made at a joint news conference in Madrid, where Zelenskiy arrived on May 27 for talks with the head of the Spanish government and King Felipe VI.

“For the period up to 2027, Ukraine will get 5 billion euros from Spain through the European Peace Fund,” Zelenskiy told the news conference.

Ahead of the visit, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that Madrid plans to send missiles for Patriot air-defense systems and Leopard tanks to Ukraine as part of the weapons package.

The bilateral security agreement was the 10th signed by Ukraine with Western allies, following similar pacts with Britain, Germany, France, Denmark, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Finland, and Latvia.

Zelenskiy’s office has said that bilateral security agreements are also in the works with the United States, Japan, Romania, Norway, Greece, and the European Union.

Zelenskiy will travel to Portugal on a working visit on May 28, according to a statement by Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s office.

The statement said the leaders will seek to enhance relations, with a “special emphasis” on strengthening security and defense cooperation.

Zelenskiy was forced to postpone his visit to Spain and other countries earlier this month after Russian troops launched a cross-border offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Outmanned and outgunned Ukrainian forces have been grappling with a severe lack of modern air-defense systems and ammunition as they struggle to stave off the Russian offensive amid a slowdown in deliveries of weapons, despite the U.S. Congress finally approving a $61 billion military aid package for Kyiv after several months of delay.

Highlighting Ukraine’s increasing difficulties in protecting its skies against Russia’s indiscriminate strikes on civilian targets, at least 14 people were killed and 43 wounded when Russia bombed a DYI store in the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, located just some 35 kilometers from the Russian border.

Following the Kharkiv attack, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on May 27 on Ukraine’s Western allies to step up their military aid to Kyiv.

Speaking at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, Stoltenberg saidUkraine had the right to use Western weapons against military targets on Russian territory and called on Western countries to reconsider forbidding Ukraine to launch such attacks.

“The time has come to consider whether it will be right to lift some of the restrictions which have been imposed because we see now that especially in the Kharkiv region the front line and the border line is more or less the same,” Stoltenberg said.

“If Kyiv cannot attack military targets on Russian territory then it ties one hand of the Ukrainians on their back and makes it very hard for them to conduct defense.”

RFE RL

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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