The Ukrainian ambassador to Spain, Serhii Pohoreltsev, yesterday thanked the Spanish government for the more than 200 tonnes of military aid provided so far to repel the Russian invasion, but estimates that the weapons delivered so far “are enough for two hours of fighting”.
Speaking to journalists on the 100th day anniversary of the start of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Serhii Pohoreltsev said of the aid provided by Spain. “We are grateful but we cannot say that we are satisfied”. The ambassador requested the delivery by Spain of Leopard tanks and 155 mm howitzers and 120 mm mortars.
Pohoreltsev considered the delivery of the Leopards a priority over discussions to receive Spanish instructors to teach the Ukrainian forces how to operate them.
“The issue is on the table and there is good will on the part of the Spanish government and the Ministry of Defence to send instructors to teach the operation of these tanks. There is willingness, there is a possibility, but the important thing is the tanks”, he insisted.
“We are not asking for anything that Spain cannot provide”, added the Ukrainian ambassador, before lamenting, according to studies by the diplomatic mission, that Spain registers “one of the lowest rates of aid to Ukraine in relation to its military budget”.
The diplomat reiterated that Ukraine needs “more financial aid and more weapons” to fight an enemy whose arsenal outnumbers the Ukrainian forces “20 to 1”, which has brought the situation to a critical moment but which could be reversed, however, if Ukraine receives the supplies it is requesting. “We could drive Russia out in a matter of weeks,” Pohoreltsev said.
In any case, the ambassador applauded the “unquestionable support” shown towards Ukraine by the Spanish government, in which he does not perceive “pro-Russian sympathies”, but rather a support “that has been seen in all the decisions adopted by the government”, such as the delivery at the end of April of the 200 tonnes of arms and ammunition, the 30 large trucks and the 10 light trucks that the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, promised during his meeting in Kiev with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodimir Zelenski.
Finally, Serhii Pohoreltsev also expressed his satisfaction with the process carried out by the Spanish authorities to grant temporary protection status to 116,000 of the 140,000 Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in Spain since the beginning of the war, in addition to the 120,000 already residing in the country until the outbreak of the conflict.