No shit Spanish tanks for Ukraine

Analysis: Robles is considered a serious Defence Minister, but are yesterday's statements enough for the opposition to call for her resignation?
By Matthew Bennett
Aug 03, 2022, 1:40 pm

Spanish Defence Minister Margarita Robles yesterday admitted to reporters that Ukraine wouldn't be getting the Leopard tanks Spain had promised the embattled nation because, well, they don't work: "they are in an absolutely terrible state", she said. A fuller version of the quotes was even worse: "the Leopard tanks that are not in use in Zaragoza, and haven't been for many years, that can't happen because they are in a absolutely terrible state", said Robles: "as far as the Leopards are concerned, we did the necessary checks and they have been in a condition for several years, that means they can't be used, and we can't send them because they would be a danger to people". Let's assume the minister did not mean the kind of danger Zelensky would like to cause Putin's troops.

This is a terrible statement from the Defence Minister whichever way you look at it (although as a journalist, I must give her top marks for admitting the reality of the situation, if it is true): Minister admits Spain's tanks were in a rubbish state anyway; Minister admits Spain promised to send a wartime ally tanks in a terrible state; Minister admits Spain didn't know the rubbish tanks Spain had promised to send to Ukraine were in that terrible a state; Minister admits Spain didn't check the state of its crap tanks before promising to send them to Ukraine; Minister admits Spain attempted to take part in Western effort to arm Ukraine with tanks that don't work; Minister admits that Spain's mothballed tanks wouldn't have been any good to defend Spain if anyone had decided to invade the country in the meantime.

In June, there were reports Germany was blocking the shipment of the tanks but this is not the first time the quality of Spanish weapons for Ukraine has been called into question. In March, Robles was forced to defend the quality of old Spanish machine guns sent to Ukraine, after Spaniards with military experience expressed surprise on social media. If the aim is really to help Zelensky beat Putin as quickly as possible, these revelations are just not good news. Proper allied behaviour in such a situation would demand sending lots of top-quality weaponry that you know you have at hand, and then finding more for them, not announcing promises for old mothballed gear Spain itself hasn't even bothered to check for years. While Robles is considered one of the more serious senior socialist members of the coalition government, a safe pair of hands for the Defence brief, are yesterday's revealing statements enough for opposition parties to perhaps call for her resignation?

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