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Zelensky cancels his visit to Spain and Portugal due to the Russian offensive in northern Ukraine | Spain

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky canceled on Tuesday evening the trip he wanted to make to Spain and Portugal at the end of this week, CNN Portugal reported and confirmed by sources from the Spanish government and the royal family. According to the Portuguese television channel, the reason for the suspension is the serious internal situation in Ukraine, which is facing a renewed Russian offensive in the north that threatens Kharkiv, the country's second largest city.

Zelensky was due to meet Felipe VI this Friday in what would be his first official visit to Spain, although he was already in Granada at the European Political Community (EPC) summit last October. The king would receive Zelensky in audience at the Royal Palace, as La Zarzuela had announced: thus confirming the visit of the President of Ukraine, expected last Monday by EL PAÍS. Next, the kings planned to offer lunch to the Ukrainian president at the Royal Palace itself.

La Zarzuela announced around midnight the cancellation of the planned events with the Ukrainian president, which had been announced early in the afternoon with an extension of the royal family's agenda, which caused some confusion, since at that time neither La Moncloa nor the Foreign Office officially confirmed Zelensky's visit. Ultimately, the entire program was canceled.

During his stay in Spain, Zelensky also planned to sign a security agreement with President Pedro Sánchez similar to those Kiev has already signed with the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark or Canada. The aim is to ensure sustainable, long-term military support and serve as a bridge until it can become a full member of NATO and the EU. Negotiations to sign this agreement, which is expected to be approved by the Council of Ministers but will not be submitted to Congress for ratification because it does not have the legal status of an international treaty, began in early March and, according to the sources consulted have already been completed. Sánchez and Zelenskiy last spoke on May 7, in a telephone conversation in which both discussed the negotiations on the bilateral security agreement and the former announced, in a message via the social network, the Summit for Peace in Ukraine would meet next month in Switzerland.

The bilateral security agreement between Spain and Ukraine will provide stability and predictability to the military support that Spain already provides to Kiev through the supply of weapons, the training of more than 4,000 fighters through the Toledo Training Coordination Center (TTCC) or the care of dozens of wounded in the military hospital in Zaragoza. The pact obliges Spain to provide long-term military assistance, supply weapons, cooperate in training its armed forces, cooperate in developing Ukraine's defense industry or exchange information in the field of intelligence and cyber security.

The bilateral agreements signed by Kiev with several European countries answering the call made last July by the G-7, the club of the world's richest countries, as compensation for the fact that the NATO summit in Vilnius (Lithuania) postponed Ukraine's application for membership.

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Although Spain is not part of the G-7, the country has heeded his call and started negotiations on an agreement that does not guarantee security and mutual assistance in the face of foreign aggression, such as that provided for in Article 5 of the Treaty provides. the Washington Treaty, but there is a commitment “in the event of a future Russian armed attack” (it says nothing about the invasion initiated by Moscow in March 2022) to consult with Ukraine to determine “the appropriate steps must be taken”. In addition, Spain commits to maintaining economic sanctions against Russia and cooperating with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the prosecution of war crimes. The sources consulted indicate that the agreement will likely quantify the amount of military aid that the Spanish government is willing to provide to Kiev in the coming years, although the specific amount should be reflected each year in the state's general budgets.

Podemos has accused the government of bypassing Congress in approving this military agreement that Presidents Zelensky and Sánchez planned to sign without subjecting it to parliamentary approval. Deputy Deputy Javier Sánchez Serna denounced on Tuesday that the government plans “to have this bilateral agreement approved exclusively by the Council of Ministers. In this way, once again the opportunity to debate and decide on an issue of great importance for our country is taken away from this House, an issue that endangers Spain both economically and in terms of security,” he added to.

Spain has signed up to some extent with the delivery of half a dozen Patriot missiles to strengthen Kiev's anti-aircraft defenses in light of Russian attacks on its critical infrastructure. Although the amount involved is very modest, Ukrainian authorities have appreciated the speed: the missiles arrived at their destination a few days after Defense Minister Margarita Robles confirmed the delivery, EL PAÍS reports. In contrast, much of the military aid announced by many countries may be delayed for weeks or months, which Russia is taking advantage of to gain positions at the front.

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