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Zelenskyy gets more air defence missiles from Spain in fight against Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, is welcomed by Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the Moncloa palace in Madrid on Monday, May 27, 2024
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, is welcomed by Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the Moncloa palace in Madrid on Monday, May 27, 2024 Copyright AP
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By Euronews with AP
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The agreement with Ukraine signed in Madrid includes multimillion-euro contracts for the Spanish defence industry

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Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy secured a pledge of additional air defence missiles and military support from Spain on Monday. 

The support is a much-needed boost for Ukraine, which Ukraine's number one says will help fight some 3000 bombs that Russia launches every month at his country. 

Zelenskyy and Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez signed a bilateral security agreement that allocates €1 billion of military aid to Ukraine in 2024, and €5 billion by 2027. 

More Leopard tanks and artillery ammunition are also featured in the package.

“After more than two years (of war), Russia’s aggression continues, and that’s why it is more necessary than ever to redouble our support,” Sánchez told the joint news conference.

Zelenskyy had been due to visit Spain earlier this month, but he postponed all foreign trips after Moscow launched a cross-border offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region that left Ukrainian troops reeling.

That push has further strained Ukraine’s already depleted army, which in recent months has been fighting Russia’s intense drive deeper into the partially occupied eastern Donetsk region. 

Ukraine asks for Patriot missile systems

Zelenskyy told reporters Ukraine still urgently needs another seven US-made Patriot air defence systems to stop Russia hitting its power grid and civilian areas, as well as military targets. 

“If we had these modern Patriot systems, (Russian) aeroplanes wouldn’t be able to fly close enough to drop the (glide) bombs on the civilian population and the military,” Zelenskyy said at the news conference in Spain's capital.

Glide bombs are heavy Soviet-era bombs fitted with precision guidance systems and launched from aircraft flying out of range of air defences. The bombs weigh more than a ton and blast targets to smithereens, leaving a huge crater.

A glide bomb attack on a Kharkiv shopping mall on Saturday killed 18, regional Governor Oleh Syniehubov said Monday. Five people are still missing.

The Patriot is a surface-to-air guided missile system that was first deployed in the 1980s. it can target aircraft, cruise missiles and shorter-range ballistic missiles. The system is expensive but highly effective and sought after by armies around the world.

European countries have hesitated to send Patriot systems to Ukraine, fearing they themselves may need them in the future.

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