Russia cancels refuelling plan at Spanish port

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a news conference during a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels Belgium

A Mediterranean-bound convoy of Russian warships will not be stopping for fuel at a Spanish port, Russia said Wednesday, after Spain's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies objected to the refueling plan.

Fortunately for Spain, Moscow withdrew its request after the Spanish foreign ministry made inquiries about the true objective of the flotilla's passage through the Mediterranean, thereby sparing Madrid's blushes.

Eight ships from Russia's northern fleet, including the Admiral Kuznetsov and the Peter the Great, a missile-carrying battle cruiser, passed through the English Channel en route to Syria last week.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj.

As worldwide concern mounted, the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs sought explanations from Russian Federation about the task group's mission.

Konashenkov added that the situation won't affect the carrier group's mission as it has enough supplies to operate on its own. Russian diplomats and others say that the US orchestrated a coup in the Ukraine, then used Russia's response as a pretext for moving troops closer to the border.

On Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance was seriously concerned about the Russian naval task group's movements in the Mediterranean and its "potential" participation in the operation in Syria's Aleppo.

NATO's secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said while Russian Federation had the right to operate in global waters, the situation off Ceuta was different because of concerns that the aircraft carrier group would be a platform for attacks.

German armed forces Bundeswehr fire a Patriot missile at the NATO Missile Firing Installation during training at Sauda Bay near Chania Crete Greece

"Men, women and children are dying every day".

There has been concern that the ships could take part in air strikes in Syria, where Russian Federation has been conducting a bombing campaign for the past year in support of President Bashar al-Assad and has deployed a naval contingent to back up its operation. But he refused to single out Spain, despite being repeatedly asked what damage the refueling might do to NATO's image.

According to the BBC, the Spanish foreign ministry said: "Given the information which appeared on the possibility that these ships would participate in supporting military action in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the ministry of foreign affairs requested clarification from the embassy of the Russian Federation in Madrid".

Shortly afterward, Spain said Russian Federation had withdrawn its bid to dock the ships. The U.S. government also formally accused the Russian government this month of directing hacks into systems used by Americans and U.S. political organizations in an effort to influence the presidential election. This was in line with the normal practice of letting Russian warships stop at Spanish ports.

The NATO officials fear that Russian flotilla will launch fighter-bombers to hit northwestern Syria early in November.

In July, the United Kingdom confirmed it would deliver one of four battalions to NATO's enhanced forward presence in the Baltic States and Poland.

The US will not only contribute most of the troops itself for its battalion in Poland, but also have another force ready to boost NATO's presence to the South, part of land, air and sea reinforcements in Romania and the Black Sea region.



Other news