Spain eyes up to 10 Leopard tanks for Ukraine, PM says

KYIV, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Spain may increase the number of Leopard 2A4 tanks to be sent to Ukraine to 10 from six promised earlier and will discuss potential aircraft deliveries with NATO and EU partners, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday during a visit to Kyiv.

The German-made fighting vehicles are part of over 50 2A4s Spain had mothballed in reserve, and they require repairs and refitting.

"As the defence minister told parliament yesterday, we will send six Leopard 2A4s. We intend to see in the coming weeks and months whether we can increase the total to 10," Sanchez told reporters after meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on the eve of the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Sanchez's second trip to Kyiv since the Feb. 24, 2022 invasion comes just days after visits by U.S. President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Earlier this year, Kyiv secured pledges from Western supporters of modern battlefield tanks to help fend off Russia's invasion, as Moscow steps up its efforts to make incremental advances in eastern Ukraine.

Other NATO countries, including Germany, Poland and Portugal, have promised to send a total of 48 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Sanchez added that Zelenskiy had also asked for warplanes to help Ukraine's war effort, but that was "something that we need to discuss with our partners both at the NATO and European level".

Writing by Emma Pinedo, Andrei Khalip, Editing by William Maclean

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