Trip to Latvia

Pedro Sánchez reaffirms Spain's full commitment to NATO's efforts in the face of the Russian government's brutal aggression against Ukraine

President's News - 8.3.2022

Riga (Latvia)

President Sánchez was accompanied by the Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, the Prime Minister of Latvia, Arturs Krisjanis Karin, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, the country that leads the tactical group, with Spain as the second largest contributor. The trip is an expression of transatlantic commitment and unity in the face of the Russian government's unjustified aggression against Ukraine, as well as the support of all allies for the Baltic states.

A clear message of unity is also being conveyed to President Putin by NATO Allies: maintaining a stronger transatlantic bond than ever before, working in perfect coordination and upholding the principles on which the Alliance was founded. "Our unity is our strength," stressed Pedro Sánchez, who thanked Canada for the "excellent collaboration and teamwork" shown in leading the Adazi mission, composed of troops from 10 countries.

"Our main commitment is to peace. NATO is a defensive alliance and all our actions so far should be understood as deterrence efforts to avoid confrontation". Spain is "fully committed" to supporting the Alliance's work to strengthen the Eastern Flank and "ready" to respond to Allied appeals.

Spanish troops are the second largest contingent in Adazi, with 350 military personnel, to which an additional 157 are now beginning to be added. It has six battle tanks and armoured vehicles.

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

During the meeting with the Spanish troops, President Sánchez expressed, "with pride", the gratitude he felt for "the dedication, solidarity and generosity of our soldiers. With your dedication and professionalism, you are contributing to a safer world for all."

The president of the Government of Spain also reiterated Spain's firm commitment of solidarity with the Ukrainian people in the current circumstances of the humanitarian crisis that the war is causing, with more than 2 million refugees to date. "Today, 8 March should be the day of women and girls in Ukraine. Unfortunately, Putin's brutal aggression is causing them to flee or fight for their lives. I want to pay tribute to all of them and reaffirm that we will stand by them."

Pedro Sánchez has reaffirmed Spain's unconditional support for Ukraine and the defence of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. "The time for solidarity has come and I can assure you that Spain will rise to the occasion and provide international protection to the maximum number of refugees possible". We have condemned Russia's aggression against Ukraine in the strongest terms, "which we are supporting to the best of our ability".

Spain has already delivered the first of its shipments of several tonnes of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as well as military equipment. "And we will continue to do so," Sánchez stressed. "We will stand with the Ukrainian government and people to resist Putin's unjustified attack. Because what is happening in Ukraine is an act of aggression not only against Europe's security, but also against what Europe stands for: democracy, multilateralism and liberty".

Bilateral meetings

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaAs well as the visit to the military base, President Sánchez held bilateral meetings with Secretary of State Stoltenberg and Prime Ministers Trudeau and Karin, with whom he later appeared at a press conference.

Jens Stoltenberg thanked Spain for its contribution to the Atlantic Alliance forces, stressing that our country "is leading by example, deploying additional troops, ships and aircraft to strengthen our defensive position in Europe". This leadership is particularly valuable in the current crisis in Ukraine at a time when Spain will host the NATO Summit in Madrid in June, where the organisation's new Strategic Concept will be adopted.

Spain's contribution to reinforcing the deterrence of the allies on its eastern flank was also highlighted by Arturs Karin, who expressed his gratitude, "in a special way at this time", for the role played by Spanish troops "in the security of Latvia", a country of which Pedro Sánchez said that, "despite the geographical distance, there is a feeling of brotherhood".

For his part, Justin Trudeau highlighted "the excellent collaboration" between Spanish and Canadian troops in the Adazi tactical group, underlining "the importance that the presence" of Spanish soldiers is having in reinforcing security in the area.

Non official translation