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UKRAINE

Spain sends 200 tonnes of military material to Ukraine

Spain has shipped 200 tonnes of military equipment, including heavy transport vehicles and ammunition, to Ukraine, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Thursday during a visit to Kyiv.

Spain sends 200 tonnes of military material to Ukraine
Spain has already sent other weaponry shipments to Ukrainian forces since February. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP)

“This is the largest shipment made until now, more than doubling what we have sent so far,” he told a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

A Spanish navy ship loaded with the material departed a port in Spain on Thursday bound for Poland, from where the cargo will be transported to Ukraine, Sánchez said.

“The ship carries 30 trucks, several special heavy transport vehicles, and 10 small vehicles loaded with the military material that will be transferred to Ukraine,” he added.

Sánchez and his Danish counterpart arrived in Kyiv earlier on Thursday for talks with Zelensky, the latest in a series of visits by European leaders to show their support for Ukraine.

“Shocked to witness the horror and atrocities of Putin’s war on the streets of Borodyanka,” Sánchez tweeted earlier on Thursday after visiting the war-ravaged town outside of Kyiv with Frederiksen.

Madrid has sent about a dozen planes to Ukraine carrying “hundreds of tonnes” of weapons and humanitarian supplies, Defence Minister Margarita Robles said on Monday.

In another sign of support for Kyiv, Sánchez announced on Monday that Spain would reopen its embassy in the Ukrainian capital “in a few days’ time”.

The embassy suspended activity the day after the Russian invasion on February 24 for security reasons.

Spain has also taken in 134,000 Ukrainians, of whom 64,000 have received temporary protection, including accommodation and a work permit.

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UKRAINE

Ukrainian grain dodges Russian blockade to reach Spain via new route

A Ukrainian grain shipment arrived in Spain on Monday after being shipped via the Baltic Sea to circumvent Russia’s blockade, imposed following the outbreak of war, a Spanish association said.

Ukrainian grain dodges Russian blockade to reach Spain via new route

The Finnish-flagged cargo ship, the Alppila, carrying 18,000 tonnes of grain for animal feed docked at A Coruña port in northwestern Spain early on Monday, the Agafac food manufacturers association said.

It said it was the first time such a route had been used for Ukrainian grain.

Agafac, which had placed the order, said the grain had been transported by lorry to the northwestern Polish port of Swinoujscie on the shores of the Baltic Sea.

It then called in at Brunsbuettel in northern Germany before heading for Spain.

This is “the first shipment of grain to be transported via a new sea route through the Baltic Sea to circumvent the Russian naval blockade on Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea that has been in place since the war began,” Agafac said.

Contacted by AFP, a spokesman for Ukraine’s agriculture ministry was unable to confirm whether or not it was the first such shipment of Ukrainian grain to travel via the Baltic Sea.

“We don’t have information about transportation specifically to Spain. We deliver to Romania, Poland. This is probably the logistics outside Ukraine,” he said.

When Russia invaded on February 24th, it imposed a naval blockade on Ukraine’s Black Sea ports that has choked off its grain exports, threatening a global food crisis.

Before the Russian invasion, Ukraine was the world’s top producer of sunflower oil and a major wheat exporter, but millions of tonnes of grain exports remain trapped due to the blockade.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Ukraine is currently exporting more than two million tonnes of grain a month via rail but that figure is far below what it was exporting before the war via its ports, notably Odessa.

The United Nations and certain countries like France and Turkey have been pushing for the opening of a “security corridor” in the Black Sea to allow Ukrainian exports to resume.

At the end of May, General Christopher Cavoli, the incoming head of the US European Command, said Germany’s railway company recently set up a “Berlin train lift” — a special train service to move Ukraine’s grain exports.

He said Poland was working on a simplified border crossing regime to ease the deliveries, and once out of Poland, the grain was taken to Germany’s northern ports to be shipped onwards.

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