One of the over 150 M113A armoured vehicles retained by Portugal's Armed Forces in exercises in 2015

Portugal pressured to send Ukraine more military hardware

US wants country to dispatch armoured personnel carriers

The United States department of defence is pressuring Portugal to send armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine.

According to online SOL, the Pentagon has been insisting the government sends a set of these armoured vehicles in the context of aid provided by NATO countries – but for reasons unclear Portugal is dithering.

It’s not a case of not having the vehicles: Portugal has 104 M113A2 carriers which it purchased in the 90s at a ‘bargain basement price, as well as 50 M113A1s.

These are both models that were secured ‘cheap’ due to their approaching technological obsolescence. 

Says SOL, the vehicles have been at the military base of Santa Margarida (Santarém district) for the last 30 years – and they are the ‘answer’ to the appeal for military equipment made by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during his address to parliament last month.

M113As are not combat vehicles, but they would definitely be useful for Ukrainian troops.

Portugal has already sent at least two consignments of military and medical aid, a new batch of which is still ‘under transport’ in Poland.

Thus the ‘dithering’ is curious. 

SOL maintains “Lisbon has been delaying response to the request by the United States, even after the meeting (last) week in Ramstein, which essentially should have been a ‘game changer’.

NAVY PROMISES TWO FRIGATES – BUT ONLY HAS ONE

Another glitch in Portugal’s support for Ukraine has appeared in the promise by the Navy to cede two frigates to NATO, when ‘classified information’ to which Expresso has had access suggests it only has one (the Corte-Real) that is fully-operational for ‘missions of combat’.

Two other frigates are currently in Holland ‘for modernisation’, but, “the Vasco da Gama continues to deteriorate in the dock, and Álvares Cabral is not yet ready”, says the online.

Contacted by Expresso, the Navy has neither confirmed nor denied the situation – simply saying “at a time of conflict in Europe, information relating to operational means is classified”.

These revelations follow President Marcelo’s appeal for more funds for defence during his Liberty Day address, and the government’s own response that the Armed Forces budget is staying the way it is for the time being, albeit some promotions (involving salary increases) can go ahead at the end of this year.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com