Cristina Lladó and Enrique Rodríguez de la Rubia
Madrid (EFE).- The Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, has guaranteed that “the entire Government is united” in the objective of seeking peace for Ukraine, but has warned that foreign policy decisions are made by the president of the Government, Pedro Sánchez.
In an interview with EFE one year after the start of the war in Ukraine, the minister values the European response to Russian aggression, defends the actions and participation of the Spanish Government in the crisis and settles the discrepancies with its partners in Unidas Podemos, on military support for Ukraine.
“Both for values and interests, Spain is where it needs to be, united with its European partners, and Europe united with its transatlantic partners,” Albares responds to those who, from the coalition government such as Minister Ione Belarra, assure that, with its support the Executive feeds the military escalation.
“Opinions are one thing and decisions are another. Decisions are made every Tuesday in the Council of Ministers and, Tuesday to Tuesday, the United Government makes decisions to protect the Spanish people, both in terms of their security and the economic and social consequences of the crisis, ”he underlines.
Asked if the escalation of arms can inevitably lead to the intervention of the EU military, as suggested by Podemos, Albares is blunt:
“There is no question in any scenario, neither by the Government of Spain, nor by the EU, nor by NATO, that there are neither Spanish nor European nor NATO soldiers in Ukraine, and that has to remain very clear,” he says.
For Albares, it is evident that “this war has not been wanted, nor has it been promoted, nor has it done anything for it to occur, neither Spain nor the Government of Spain, nor Europe, nor any European partner, nor NATO, nor any NATO ally”, but it has been and is the will of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
Thus, regarding Putin’s threats about an escalation if Europe and NATO continue to support Ukraine, Albares considers that “they are full of cynicism, because nobody has wanted this war except him”, which now even threatens the unilateral suspension of the treaty. nuclear disarmament START II.
In addition, he stresses that “this is not a war against Russia”, but against the ambitions and interests of Putin, “the only one who feeds the war and who has shown day by day that he does not need any excuse to escalate, something that we cannot allow “, it states.
For this reason, it considers that “all military material delivered to Ukraine is defensive material, to defend its integrity and sovereignty, to defend its democracy and to defend millions of defenseless civilians.”
For this reason, “we are all united in supporting Ukraine for as long as necessary” and will not hesitate to send the necessary military material.
“We are not going to spare any efforts” to achieve peace, which will only come “when the Russian soldiers return to the borders of the Russian Federation that they should never have left,” he stresses.
Thus, it guarantees that “Spain is doing everything in its power to support Ukraine”, from providing political and humanitarian support, to sending experts to support the investigation of the International Criminal Court.
And “also with military support, to defend both Ukraine’s democracy and sovereignty as well as defenseless civilians, Spain is in all fields doing everything it can,” he says.
To those who question the role of Spain and consider that it would be “playing below its weight” by limiting itself to supporting the decisions of the EU without looking for its own profile, Albares reminds them that “this is not a competition, to see who is in its weight or not, what it is about is that peace return to Europe ”.
However, it acknowledges that this year of war in Europe has revealed the strengths and vulnerabilities of the EU.
Thus, Albares is clear that “the importance of unity” with European partners and transatlantic allies has been demonstrated, which is “the best way to face the challenge to security and our values.”
But the war has also revealed weaknesses such as energy or food dependence, and the need to “rethink European Defence”.
“We have a powerful defense industry in Europe, but each one does things on their own”, laments the minister, for whom it is clear that “we have to integrate better and guarantee the interoperability of what we produce and of our defense industries” .
Asked if he would be willing to directly support the Spanish Defense industry, Albares stressed that “the Government has always given support to the Defense industry”, a sector that, he recalled, “gives work to thousands and thousands of people in this country and in Europe, work of high technological value and high added value”.