14:44 Oct. 26, 2016
Russian navy is supposed to enter the port today, on October 26
The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is reviewing the permit issued to the Russian flotilla led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, which heads for the Eastern Mediterranean and wants to refuel at Ceuta. Madrid explains that it is checking whether the three ships, registered three weeks ago, are a part of Kuznetsov flotilla. If this is the case, they will not be allowed to enter Ceuta.
On October 25, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, expressed his concern that Russian flotilla could be used to attack Syrian Aleppo together with Bashar Assad forces. But he said it is "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 eight-vessel flotilla was expected to arrive in Ceuta on October 26.
Ceuta is a Spanish autonomous city in northern Africa, sharing a Western border with Morocco. It is separated from the Iberian peninsula by the Strait of Gibraltar. Spain regularly refuels Russian warships at the North African port, which it says is not covered by Nato treaties. At least 60 Russian military craft have made technical stops at the Spanish enclave since April 2010, when the naval base was opened up to serve ships from other nations.
On October 19th, Moscow announced it was dispatching its flagship aircraft carrier to bolster its forces in the eastern Mediterranean off Syria. The fleet includes 8 ships.