Russia has withdrawn a request to refuel its warships in Ceuta, after Spain became the subject of international criticism, from the NATO secretary general among others. Spain had recently signed statements accusing Russia of war crimes in Syria, where it’s believed the ships are headed.
Eight Russian ships, led by aircraft carrier Admiral Kudnetsov, passed through the Strait of Gibraltar on Wednesday after sailing through the English Channel this week.
UK Defense Minister, Michael Fallon, said it would be on “Madrid’s conscience” if the Russian fleet was used to launch airstrikes. However, Prime Minister Theresa May has refused to condemn Spain for allowing the ships to dock.
At least 60 Russian military ships are believed to have stopped at Ceuta since 2010; Spain has now been reviewing its policy, having previously defended it.
The first group comprised of Russian escort and support ships, sailed past the Rock at around 4am. The second group, comprised of the battle cruiser Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great) and the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov sailed past Gibraltar several hours later, just before sunrise.
The fact that they sailed through at night suggests the Russian Navy did not wish to make a display of its passage through the narrow Strait.
At talks between Nato defence ministers in Brussels this week, British Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said Britain “would be extremely concerned if a Nato member should consider assisting a Russian carrier group that might end up bombing Syria”.
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said the deployment raised concerns that air assaults could increase in Syria, notably in the besieged city of Aleppo.
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@The Troglol: Curious. I thought it was the Americans that went to Iraq.Oct 27th, 2016 - 12:50 pm +5
I wonder whether it's possible to see a difference between allowing ships of a fellow EU member state and NATO ally to refuel and doing the same for a non-member and NATO enemy? Perhaps spain needs the money? Perhaps spain has no morals?
Do I detect an embarrassed silence from Madrid ? Russia has let them off the hook this time.Oct 27th, 2016 - 11:26 am +4
It will be interesting to see Israel's reaction to this fleet swanning about the eastern med.
It could be a recipe for disaster if provocative acts are made by either side.
What makes me laugh is when Spain want to thwart an EU deal with the UK, when the failure of a deal means no Spanish fishing vessels in UK waters, tariffs being applied to all the Spanish produce exported to the UK, and no more British taxpayers money for the Spanish to sponge off. And they are trying to get Europe on side against the UK and Gibraltar for the last 6 years ,by. wait for it, refuelling Russian ships in one of their Moroccan colonies! And apparently the ban by the Catalonians of the disgracefully archaic and cruel practice of Bullfighting, has been overturned by the Spanish government. Is Spain the most archaic and out of touch country in Europe or the most blatantly stupid??Oct 27th, 2016 - 01:41 pm +4