Spain sends warships to ward off Russian aggression
A mine-sweeper is already on the way and a frigate will be sent within three or four days, Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles told reporters Thursday.
The Spanish vessels set sail amid fierce tensions over Russia’s 100,000-troop buildup near its border with Ukraine and warnings from the west that Moscow may soon invade the former Soviet nation.
“Russia cannot tell any country what to do, so NATO will protect and defend the sovereignty of any country that can or wants to join NATO,” she said.
She added that Spain wants an “exclusively diplomatic response” to resolve the conflict.
Ukraine is not part of NATO but has asked to join, something Russia has staunchly opposed.
The military alliance, however, has rebuffed Moscow’s demands that it not extend further east, which the Kremlin has used as an excuse to amass its forces and claim unspecified security concerns.
Western nations now fear Russia may soon launch an incursion into Ukraine, similar to its 2014 annexation of the Crimea Peninsula.
Spain joins several other NATO countries to help bolster Ukraine’s defenses, including Denmark, which said it was sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea, and France, which has offered to send troops to Romania.
The U.S. is also allowing three NATO allies — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — to send American-made weapons “from their inventories for use by Ukraine.”