Russia, Spain Says Refuelling Request Withdrawn

تم نشره في Wed 26 October / Oct 2016. 12:00 AM
  • The Admiral Kuznetsov will join Russian vessels already off the Syrian coast -(EPA)

Capitals — Russia has withdrawn a request for three warships to dock at the Spanish port of Ceuta for refuelling, following concern among Nato allies.

The Spanish foreign ministry says the stopovers have now been cancelled.

Spain had been coming under pressure from Nato allies not to allow the refuelling of Russian warships bound for Syria.

A battle group has been sailing for the past week from Russia to the Mediterranean.
Russian flotilla Journey - (BBC)

"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," the foreign ministry said in a statement to the BBC.

It added that permission had been granted in September for three Russian ships to dock in Ceuta between 28 October and 2 November. It said such stops for Russian naval vessels had taken places for years in Spanish ports.

But following its request for clarification, the ministry said, the Russian embassy in Madrid said it was withdrawing its request for refuelling.

The Russian embassy has confirmed the withdrawal, but has given no further details.

Nato had earlier expressed concern that the ships could be used to help bomb civilians in Aleppo, but said the final decision on resupply rested with Spain.

Nato's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had warned that warships could be used to target civilians in Syria.

"We are concerned and I have expressed that very clearly about the potential use of this battle group to increase Russia's ability and to be a platform for air strikes against Syria," he told journalists on Tuesday.