Spain pledges 1 bln euros in military aid to Kiev as Zelensky visits

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky landed in Spain Monday for talks with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez with the pair due to ink a deal increasing Madrid's military aid to Kiev.

The deal "includes a commitment for one billion euros in military aid for 2024," Sanchez told a joint news conference

"It will allow Ukraine to boost its capabilities including its essential air defense systems to protect its civilians, cities and infrastructure which are still suffering indiscriminate attacks as seen this weekend in Kharkiv," he said, referring to a Russian strike on the northeastern city that killed at least 16 people.

As he touched down at Madrid's Barajas airport at 1000 GMT, Zelensky was met on the tarmac by King Felipe VI and then headed straight into the Spanish capital to meet Sanchez where the two leaders were to sign a security agreement.

The visit comes as Ukraine battles a Russian ground offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region which began on May 10 in Moscow's biggest territorial advance in 18 months.

With the Russian assault now in its third year, Ukraine has been pleading for more weapons for its outgunned and outnumbered troops, notably seeking help to address its lack of air defense systems.

After their meeting, the two leaders were expected to hold a news conference, Sanchez's office said.

Zelensky was then expected at the Royal Palace for talks followed by "a lunch in his honour" hosted by King Felipe and Queen Letizia, a palace statement said.

Zelensky had been due to visit on May 17, but postponed his trip after Russian troops began a major assault on the Kharkiv region.

According to El Pais newspaper, Monday's deal would include 1.1 billion euros worth of military aid and include new...

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