Spain has stopped Russian Navy ships from entering the Ceuta port as per the Spanish publication El Confidencial.
As per the report, on August 18, a large anti-submarine ship Vice Admiral Kulakov of the Udaloy class and a rescue tug Altai were to enter the port Ceuta for a three-day visit to refuel and replenish supplies.
The General Staff approved the stop of the Spanish Navy, but it was not enough, the newspaper writes.
Under Spanish law, a visit to the ports of foreign warships must be approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to the report, Moscow sent a request for the ships to enter the port in the early summer. In response, the Spanish Foreign Ministry requested additional information, including their route after arriving in Ceuta.
Russia considers the routes of its naval ships a secret, and did not provide the requested information, said the newspaper.
After that, the Spanish Foreign Ministry decided not to authorize the stopping of ships, acting like the Russians – did not respond. Russian diplomats interpreted this silence as a negative response.
The decision of Spanish diplomats could also be influenced by next year’s summit of NATO leaders in Madrid, as the event in Ceuta by Russian Navy ships could cause disapproval in the Alliance.
The United Kingdom has repeatedly disagreed with the visits of Russian warships to Ceuta, as there is a British military base in Gibraltar not far from this port. London assumed that the Russians were trying to collect data about her.
From 2011 to 2016 inclusive, more than 50 Russian warships stopped in Ceuta. However, in 2016, the government of Mariano Rajoy vetoed these stops under pressure from NATO and the United States. If it had been approved, Vice Admiral Kulakov and the Altai tug would have been the first Russian warships to visit Ceuta in five years.
On August 3, both the ships were involved in an incident with the nuclear submarine Orel that lost its course off the coast of Denmark.