NATO defense ministers and their counterparts from about 50 countries are meeting at Ramstein Air Base today, the latest in a series of arms pledging conferences since Russia’s military operation in Ukraine some 11 months ago.
The main focus of the talks is whether Germany will allow Leopard 2 tanks to be re-exported to Ukraine. European armies across the continent use these tanks.
“This is the debate that will take place in Rammstein today, in which the European Union will be represented,” Borrell told reporters in Madrid. “We have to give Ukraine the weapons necessary not only to repel attacks as they are doing now, but also to regain territory.”
He added, “I think that Ukraine needs the combat weapons and heavy tanks that it requested, and some European countries are ready to provide them, and I hope that this will be the decision.”
Ukraine said it expected NATO and other countries to take strong decisions at today’s meeting, warning that Russia was seeking to re-intensify its war effort.
However, Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles, who will not take part in the Rammstein talks, told reporters she did not expect any political decisions about tanks at the meeting.
She stated: “This is not a meeting to decide on anything, it is a meeting of a technical nature that is held periodically every month … to assess the immediate needs of Ukraine,” adding that Spain is represented by senior military officials in it.
Last year, Spain initially said it was considering sending about 40 Leopard 2A4 tanks at a military base in Zaragoza to Ukraine, but Robles later ruled this out because the tanks were “in absolutely deplorable condition”.
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