Spain adds missiles and troops to NATO mission in Latvia: report

Spain is sending a surface-to-air missile battery and around 100 troops to NATO’s Forward Presence Mission in Latvia, joining some 500 compatriots already in the Baltic state, El Pais reported on Saturday.

Spain’s Defense Ministry ‘plans to deploy a battery of surface-to-air NASAMS’, or Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, in Latvia, El Pais said as NATO bolsters its presence in the Baltic region in the face of to the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

“Our commitment to NATO is total,” Defense Minister Margarita Robles told Spanish television, addressing the report.

“We have troops at the moment in Latvia and also in Lithuania, we have our ships in the Mediterranean,” Robles said, stressing Madrid’s “maximum readiness” to step up its contribution to the Western military alliance’s show of force. aimed at deterring potential. Russian incursions into its former Soviet-era zone of influence.

Robles was speaking as she attended an Armed Forces Day military parade in the northern city of Huesca, ahead of the 40th anniversary of Spain’s incorporation into NATO on May 30, 1982.

After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Spain announced it was sending 150 additional troops to Latvia to reinforce an initial 350-man contingent deployed in 2017 as NATO responded to the annexation of the Crimea by Russia in 2014 by deploying battle groups on the eastern flank of the corps.

Spain also pledged after the Russian invasion to provide offensive military hardware to Ukraine after initially suggesting it would only provide military support as part of an EU package.

“When we defend Ukraine, we are defending our values ​​of democracy,” Robles said, adding that Madrid was thus standing up against the “cruelties” of the Russian regime.