Ukraine updates: Zelenskyy on first official go to to Spain

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be in Spain on Monday where he will meet Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez for talks.

Sanchez “will receive the president of Ukraine” at noon (1000 GMT), after which they will hold a press conference, the Spanish prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Spain’s royal family said that Zelenskyy would be received by King Felipe VI at the palace. “Afterwards, King Felipe and Queen Letizia will host a lunch in his honour,” it added.

The trip is Zelenskyy’s first official visit to Spain and comes amid heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine, as Russian forces continue attacking along the frontline.

Zelenskyy had been due to visit Spain in the middle of May but postponed with reports that it was due to the Russian offensive.

Sanchez said last week that he was preparing to sign a bilateral cooperation agreement with Zelesnkyy.

“We have made decisive progress in our bilateral relations with the Ukrainian government,” the Socialist leader said.

“So much so that I can announce to you today that, as soon as the situation on the front allows, we will sign an agreement with Ukraine that will increase economic, social and institutional cooperation between our countries,” he added.

Like other European Union member states, Spain has committed to supporting Ukraine with financial and military aid since the Russian invasion in February 2022.

In March, Spain said it would transfer 19 German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine, the first ten of which are expected by the end of June, reported El Pais.

In May, Madrid provided Kyiv with long-range interceptor missiles for its Patriot air defense systems.

kb/sri (AFP, Reuters, AP)