“We learned about the refusal with bewilderment. […] This situation looks at least strange, especially against the background of the existing positive practice of interaction on the entry of Russian warships into Spanish ports. This step undoubtedly contradicts the spirit of the declaration on strategic partnership signed between the two countries in 2009, as well as the constructive development of Russian-Spanish interaction in recent years, “the message says.
The Russian Foreign Ministry suggested that the information got into the media for a reason.
“It is also surprising that Spanish officials leaked this story to the country’s central media, apparently, thereby wanting to demonstrate their alignment with the Russophobic wing of NATO during the preparation for the summit of the Alliance member countries, which is to be held in Madrid in 2022,” – stated in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Spain joined NATO in 1982, during the so-called third expansion of the Alliance.
On August 19, a number of Spanish publications, including El Pais, reported that Spanish Foreign Ministry did not agree on three-day parking for refueling in the port of Ceuta two Russian vessels of the Russian Navy – the large anti-submarine ship “Vice-Admiral Kulakov” and the tugboat “Altai”.
El Pais emphasizes that from 2011 to 2016, Russian warships with a total crew of up to 10 thousand people called the port of Ceuta about 60 times.
As reported “German Wave”, this drew criticism from Spain’s allies in NATO and the European Union. The UK believed that the Russian Federation was using the Ceuta site to collect information about the British naval base in Gibraltar. European Parliament asked the Spanish government to explain how these stops are consistent with the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation due to the occupation of Crimea.
As a result, this practice was suspended, Russian ships entered the port, but rarely, the last time it was in 2018 and 2019, writes El Pais.