EU's Borrell: Europe prepared to provide heavy tanks to Ukraine
MADRID, Jan 20 (Reuters) - The European Union's foreign policy said on Friday some European countries are prepared to send heavy tanks to Ukraine and he hoped a decision to provide them will be made at defence ministers' talks at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
NATO and defence leaders from about 50 countries were meeting on Friday at Ramstein, the latest in a series of arms-pledging conferences since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly 11 months ago.
The main focus at the talks is on whether Germany will allow the re-export to Ukraine of its Leopard 2 tanks, which are used by armies across Europe.
"This is the discussion that will take place in Ramstein today, where the EU will be represented. We have to give Ukraine the arms necessary not only to repel, which is what they're doing, but also to regain terrain," Josep Borrell told reporters in Madrid, referring to Ukraine's battle against the Russian invasion.
"I think Ukraine needs the combat arms and heavy tanks that it has asked for and some European countries are prepared to give and I hope that is the decision that is taken," he added.
Ukraine said it expected strong decisions from NATO and other countries at the meeting on Friday, warning that Russia was seeking to reenergise its war effort.
However, Spanish Defence Minister Margarita Robles, who is not attending the Ramstein talks, told reporters she did not expect any political decisions on tanks there.
"This is not a meeting to decide anything, it is a technical meeting of the kind that is held periodically every month...to evaluate Ukraine's immediate needs," she said, adding that Spain was represented by senior military officials.
Last year, Spain first said it was considering sending around 40 Leopard 2A4 tanks mothballed at a military base in Zaragoza to Ukraine, but later Robles ruled out such deliveries because the tanks are "in an absolutely deplorable state".
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