While details are unclear, Europa Press reports that Russia has cancelled its request to refuel three of its warships at Spain's eastern Mediterranean port of Cueta. Whether this is a pre-emptive move to avoid being shunned by Spain – after massive opposition from politicians and NATO officials – is unclear.
The enclave of Ceuta sits on the tip of Africa’s north coast, across the Straits of Gibraltar from mainland Spain, and bordering Morocco, which also lays claim to the territory. Although Ceuta is part of the EU, its Nato status is unclear, and since 2011 at least 60 Russian warships have docked there.
As we noted previously, Spain is facing anger and criticism from all asunder at their decision to allow the refueling to occur…
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg warned on Tuesday that Russian warships heading for Syria could be used to target civilians.
“We are concerned and have expressed very clearly by the potential use of that battle group to increase air strikes on civilians in Aleppo,” Stoltenberg said, adding that it was “up to each nation to decide whether these vessels may obtain supplies and refuel at different ports along the route to the eastern Mediterranean”.
“The battle group may be used to increase Russia’s ability to take part in combat operations over Syria and to conduct even more air strikes against Aleppo,”
Guy Verhofstadt, former prime minister of Belgium and now the EU’s representative on Brexit talks with the UK, called Spain’s decision to allow the refuelling “scandalous”.
Sir Gerald Howarth MP, a former Defence Minister, said it would be “wholly inappropriate” for a Nato member to refuel the Russian vessels.
“Spain is a member of Nato and Nato is already facing challenges from Russia, not least in the Baltics.
“The Russians stand accused of indiscriminate bombing in Aleppo and Syria and it would be inappropriate to render them military assistance.”
Former Royal Navy chief Lord West told the newspaper:
“There are sanctions against Russia and it’s an extraordinary thing for a Nato ally to do.”
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And now, as EuropaPress reports, Russia has canceled the request submitted to Spain for three of its military ships bound the eastern Mediterranean calling at the port of Ceuta between October 28 and November 2, as reported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
The department headed by José Manuel García-Margallo explained that the Government had granted last September permits scale to Russia “in the context of practice in this area for which ships of the Russian Navy made scale normally in ports Spanish for years. “
But both NATO and the British government had expressed concern that an ally help ships that could be used for an offensive in Syria that included the bombing of civilian targets.
Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has indicated that it had requested the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Madrid clarification on this possibility as “the Government of Spain continues with extraordinary concern the bombing of Aleppo and the humanitarian tragedy that is living”.
Thus, the Russian Embassy announced this afternoon the Spanish Government to withdraw the request for permits for three vessels scale, scales are therefore canceled by.
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