Spain to send Patriot missiles to Ukraine, minister says

MADRID (Reuters) -Spain's defence minister said on Friday Madrid would deliver Patriot anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, following pressure from NATO and European Union allies to send more military aid to Kyiv.

Defence Minister Margarita Robles confirmed the planned missile deliveries during a video conference with other countries supporting Ukraine's defence against Russia's invasion, her ministry said.

But a ministry statement announcing the decision to send the missiles as well as ammunition, medicine and combat first-aid kits made no reference to any plans by Madrid to send full Patriot missile defence systems to Ukraine.

Spanish media reported Spain would send four missiles but the defence ministry did not say how many would be sent.

Following appeals by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, EU governments have been urged to supply more badly needed defence systems to Kyiv, especially countries such as Spain and Greece that have them in their arsenal.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday that Athens would not be able to offer Ukraine such systems because they were "critical to our deterrent capability".

Defence is a sensitive issue for Athens given its rivalry with Turkey.

EU ministers said on Monday they were looking at how to provide more air defences to Ukraine but stopped short of making concrete pledges over the Patriot systems that Kyiv values most.

The United States was on Friday hosting a virtual meeting of Ukraine international aid donors, days after Congress approved a $61 billion aid package for Ukraine.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Graham Keeley in Madrid, and Lefteris Papadimas in Athens; Additional reporting by Belén Carreño; editing by Christina Fincher, Angus MacSwan and Timothy Heritage)