Sánchez's announcement to send weapons to Ukraine divides United We Can
It was a few minutes past nine in the morning when the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, made an unexpected announcement. "As I see that there are groups that question the commitment of the Government of Spain and, for me and for the Government, unity is so important, I announce that Spain will deliver offensive military material to the Ukrainian resistance," he said. Then the socialist caucus applauded their top boss. Not so that of United We Can, the coalition partner of the PSOE in the Executive. And neither are his ministers.
United We Can reject the shipment of weapons announced by Sánchez: "An escalation of war is not going to resolve the conflict"
The head of Social Rights and leader of Podemos, Ione Belarra, and the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, immediately began to write on their respective mobile phones and were visibly upset in their seats. Apparently calmer, the second vice president of the Government and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, also picked up her mobile, and other leaders of the confederal group such as Antón Gómez Reino, Sofía Fernández Castañón or Juantxo López de Uralde did the same.
From United We Can they explained to this newspaper that the ministers of the formation were informed last night of the turn of Sánchez, who until this Wednesday had defended that it was the European Union and not Spain bilaterally who sent those weapons to Ukraine. The two partners of the Government had agreed that the only role of the country in the conflict was going to be "humanitarian", but Sánchez, denounced from the confederal group, has failed to keep his word. The chief executive told Díaz directly on Tuesday night and Belarra and Montero were also informed, as explained by the Executive.
In those conversations, as this newspaper has been able to learn, the ministers of United We Can did not express their support for the initiative and, in fact, asked Sánchez not to communicate that decision this Wednesday, in Congress. Finally, the sources consulted explain, the chief executive decided to announce the shipment of weapons without having reached an agreement with his coalition colleagues.
"Shared" measures, according to Yolanda Díaz
Sánchez's announcement divided United We Can. Yolanda Díaz, the Minister of Universities, Joan Subirats, and the president of the confederal group in Congress, Jaume Asens, sided with the Prime Minister and avoided criticizing the arms shipment, while Belarra and Echenique rejected the measure and denounced that not be agreed upon in the coalition.
"He has all our support," Díaz assured in the corridors of Congress, when asked about Pedro Sánchez's turn. Before entering the plenary, the vice president, who already knew that the president was going to make that announcement, assured: "All the measures to stop this war are going to be shared by the Government." Afterward, Asens said: "Ukraine is being invaded and the international community cannot sit idly by and has to help it." Subirats expressed himself along the same lines: "It does not seem that Putin can be forced to change his aggressive strategy in any other way."
These statements contrast with those made by Ione Belarra and by Echenique. "This is not the most effective measure for the conflict to end as soon as possible," the minister assured journalists in the corridors of Congress. In her opinion, a "war escalation" can even lead to "an uncertain scenario of world war." That is why she criticized that Sánchez, in her speech in the plenary session of the Lower House, did not mention diplomatic channels.
"It is clear that we all want to stop (Vladimir) Putin and for the war to end as soon as possible, it is an absolute consensus. The key is to do it in the most effective way and, from our point of view, contributing to the escalation of the war is not it will resolve the conflict sooner and could lead us to a completely uncertain and very dangerous scenario of world conflict," he emphasized.
"With all due loyalty and respect, sending weapons, whether Spain does it or another country does it, is a mistake because it is not effective in ending the conflict," added later, during his speech at the plenary session of Congress, the spokesman of United We Can in the Lower House, Pablo Echenique. "Different military personnel have told us in private that arming the civilian population is not going to end the conflict," he pointed out.
Echenique: "Peace is going to be left alone"
Echenique spoke of "an unjustifiable military aggression by Putin against a sovereign country." "A brutal invasion that must be condemned and we condemn without palliatives", he settled it. In any case, the spokesman for United We Can wanted to "defend peaceful ways of resolving conflicts." "All armed conflicts end with a peace agreement. We want that agreement to be soon," he stressed.
"If we don't defend peace, peace will be left alone. They will label us as innocent, they will say that we are good, that pacifism is stupid. To make peace we need to talk a lot, give in a lot, but it is the only way to prevent deaths," he insisted.
"In a liberal democracy that integrates plurality and diversity, it is criticized that there are groups with a position with its nuances on important issues such as the delivery of weapons," Sánchez himself reproached those who are launched against the Government. due to the discrepancies shown by Podemos. “It seems to me a debate there will be parties like United We Can that will consider that it is not correct and I think that in this it is wrong”, he pointed out.
“Ukraine has the status of an attacked country, they are fighting unequally,” added Sánchez, who defended “contributing to de-escalation and helping a population that is without any capacity to contribute so that it can do so under equal conditions.” Sánchez told Echenique that he had missed in his intervention that he demanded from Putin a “minimum of the war” that is to stop the attacks when a negotiation channel is opened.
"Sharing your concern, that we cannot contribute to a verbal escalation that will take us to higher levels of bellicosity, I believe that Spain has to contribute to helping Ukraine at a European and bilateral level," said the Chief Executive.
Moncloa boasts of unity
Despite everything, in Moncloa they boasted this Tuesday of unity within the coalition regarding position in the conflict and are now conspiring so that nothing truncates that message, despite the clear disappointment that the Minister of Social Rights has shown.
"They have expressed the position as Podemos", justify sources monclovitas, which point to the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, as the one who has marked the common position of United We Can. "The position of the Government has been expressed by Yolanda Díaz," they settle. "What is important is the people of Ukraine above any specific difference," these sources argue.
In the socialist wing they try to downplay the distance that Belarra and also the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, have shown, not only with Sánchez's decision, which they do not share when considering it "ineffective" to stop Putin, but also with Díaz , who, on the contrary, has shown full support for the president. "We have been a coalition government for two years," says a high-ranking government official to downplay this clash, which is added to others during the 25-month life of the bipartisan.
In Moncloa they also try to justify the radical turn that Sánchez has taken after having vehemently defended twelve hours earlier that the "coherent" thing was to channel the shipment of weapons through the European peace support fund. Government sources point out that Sánchez maintains that the "channel" should be that, but that he has turned to "silence" those who saw the response as lukewarm.
From the lectern of the Congress, Sánchez has also tried to downplay the different positions that exist in the Government in the face of the reproaches made by opposition parties such as Ciudadanos. “We are all in the same. Each one with its nuances, in the unitary rejection of what Putin is doing”, expressed the president in his reply to Edmundo Bal: “Europe's problem is Putin, it is not Podemos, it is not Bildu”.