Spain dispatches warship to the Black Sea to boost Ukraine’s defences

Amidst growing tension and Russia’s ever-more realistic ambitions to invade Ukraine, Spain has sent off its warship to the Black Sea and said that it would dispatch even more to reinforce other EU states’ units, should the NATO-Russia talks turn out a fiasco and Russian aggression a reality.

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The centre-left cabinet of Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez confirmed that the warship had been sent off. Whilst paying a visit to Washington, Spanish FM Jose Manuel Albares announced on Wednesday during a press conference, that in a situation of failed talks with the Kremlin, Madrid would not rule out sending its troops to back Ukraine.

According to “El Mundo” daily, Mr Albares was asked if Spain would send its troops to Ukraine in the event of Russia’s invasion.

“Spain has a very clear [stance] on this. Should it prove necessary, we would act within the framework of the EU. Spain does not rule out sending its troops into the territory of Ukraine if the crisis aggravates,” he replied, adding that in case of an armed conflict, the Spanish units would “respond jointly” with EU member states to the threat.

Nevertheless, the official stressed that he prefered not to get ahead of himself. “Currently we are having a scenario of dialogue. Although, should it morph into a scenario of an altercation, then we would act [in such a way] as to effectuate a joint response,” he said.

Russia's demands "unacceptable"

The Spanish FM stressed that the demands Russia had been recently advancing were to his mind “unacceptable”. “We must not turn back to the past, to spheres of influence and to restraining the sovereignty of states,” FM Albares said.

The official found the current conditions of dialogue with Russia difficult. “Negotiations are not tantamount to dialogue… Goodwill is required for a dialogue to be had, not imposing conditions impossible for the other side to accept,” he said.

On Tuesday, Spanish Defence Minister Margarita Robles said that, in order to boost Madrid’s presence as part of NATO’s presence on the Black Sea, the departure of the Spanish Navy’s patrol vessel Meteoro had been accelerated.