The Acting Defence Minister, Margarita Robles, who has led the department throughout the war in Ukraine, has received the ‘Distinction of Honour’ awarded by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, in recognition of Spain’s “solid and constant” support since the start of the Russian invasion.
In a ceremony held at the Embassy of Ukraine in Madrid, Robles thanked the distinction given by the Ukrainian ambassador, Serhii Pohoreltsev, who also recognised the work of the Secretary General for Defence Policy, Admiral Juan Francisco Martínez Núñez, and the Director General of Defence Policy, Lieutenant General Fernando López del Pozo.
“It has been a very emotional act and I want to thank the Minister of Defence and the entire Ukrainian Government. It is an honour for me,” said Robles, who added that she wants this to be “a recognition for all citizens Ukrainians”, some of whom “have lost everything”.
The acting Defence Minister reiterated before the ambassador that the link between Spain and Ukraine is “unquestionable”, and that this will be stated at the Informal Ministerial Meeting on Defence and Foreign Affairs to be held from August 29 to 31 in Toledo in the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
“Once again we will express our support and solidarity with Ukraine in all areas: in the humanitarian, military and political spheres,” Robles pointed out. “It has to be very clear that Ukraine is defending itself and working for peace, that there is only one person responsible who is Putin and that I hope that very soon he can sit before an international criminal court to pay for all the atrocities he is committing.”
For his part, Ambassador Pohoreltsev highlighted in his words Spain’s “solid and constant” support since the start of the Russian aggression a year and a half ago, and stressed that “on a political level Spain has demonstrated its leadership and coherence in the promotion of all international initiatives focused on the condemnation of the Russian aggression against Ukraine”.
The ambassador pointed out that Spain is one of the countries “that contributes to the victory of Ukraine in different ways and in various areas”, highlighting among them both the shipment of material, as well as the training of Ukrainian combatants in Spanish military installations, which will reach the 3,000 this year, and the treatment and rehabilitation of wounded Ukrainian soldiers.
Three of the 60 wounded soldiers receiving treatment at the General Defence Hospital in Zaragoza accompanied the minister today at the event, which was also attended by General Juan Antonio Lara Garrido, director of the medical centre where the combatants recover from traumatisms and especially severe amputations that in many cases require prostheses.
Robles has reiterated that Spain will remain at Ukraine’s side defending the cause of “peace, democracy and freedom” and that the acting government will continue to work “firmly in an international projection committed to those values”. He also recalled that the 10 ‘Leopard’ vehicles offered by Spain are already in the country, as well as the latest consignment of TOA armoured vehicles.
“Hopefully we can turn the page soon, but in the meantime Spain will always be united and linked to Ukraine, their pain will be our pain and their desire to succeed will also be ours”, Robles stressed.