While Biden Dithers, Spain Sends Warships to Deter Russian Invasion

Naval review of the Spanish Navy held on June 2, 2017 in the Pontevedra Estuary on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the Royal Company of Guardiamarinas, origin of the current Naval Military Academy of Marín. / Photo by Contando Estrelas via Wikimedia Commons

As President Biden issues statements shockingly appearing to differentiate between a major Russian invasion of Ukraine and a “minor incursion,” and has stated the U.S. will not send troops – and Germany refuses to provide defensive arms to our threatened friend – Spain is standing up and sending warships to deter Russia.

It is also saying what the U.S. and other NATO members should be saying – the Alliance should defend all allies even if not formally in NATO.

A minesweeper is already on the way to the Mediterranean and Black Sea, and a frigate will be sent within three or four days to beef up NATO forces already there, Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles told reporters Thursday.

The Iberian NATO ally is also considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria in a bid to deter Russian aggression, Reuters reported.

Spain isn’t the only NATO member standing up to Russia though and helping bolster Ukraine’s defenses. Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea, and France has offered to send troops to neighboring Romania.

And Spain’s rhetoric is on point, even as it pushes for a diplomatic solution.

The Hill reports that Spain’s Defense Minister Margarita Robles said on Thursday: “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.”

This strong statement was slightly undermined though, when she added the boilerplate comments that Spain wants an “exclusively diplomatic response” to resolve the conflict. But the primary message was clear.

Ukraine is currently not formally part of NATO but has asked to join, something Russia has staunchly opposed, and has an existing political-military relationship.

In June 2017, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted legislation reinstating membership in NATO as a strategic foreign and security policy objective

On 12 June 2020, Ukraine joined NATO’s enhanced opportunity partner interoperability program.

It is one of six such partners, alongside Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan and Sweden. Each partner has a tailor-made relationship with NATO, based on areas of mutual interest. And Ukraine has proven its support for NATO.

According to the NATO website:

As a NATO partner, Ukraine has provided troops to Allied operations, including in Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as to the NATO Response Force and NATO exercises. Allies highly value these significant contributions, which demonstrate Ukraine’s commitment to Euro-Atlantic security. ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank. - paulcrespo.substack.com - PAULCRESPO.COM

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