The refusal of some countries to assist Russian warships heading to the Mediterranean did not impact the objective, the Russian defense minister said.
MOSCOW. Russia’s aircraft carrier group has concluded its passage to the Mediterranean and was replenished by auxiliary ships last week, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday.
“I will begin by saying that last week our naval carrier strike group led by the Pyotr Veliky missile cruiser made the passage across the eastern Atlantic to the Mediterranean sea. Auxiliary Ships ensured the complete replenishment of the naval group with all types of supplies to established norms on October 27-29,” Shoigu said in a conference call.
The minister underscored the buzz that the ships’ voyage generated in the West.
“We were especially surprised by the position of individual countries that, under pressure from the US and NATO, publicly announced their refusal of entry into their ports,” Shoigu stressed.
“It is time for our Western colleagues to decide who they are fighting against, whether it is terrorists or Moscow… Perhaps they forgot who killed innocent people during terrorist attacks in Belgium, France, Egypt, Iraq and other countries?” Shoigu said.
The difficulties, however, did not delay the naval group’s passage into the Mediterranean, according to the minister.
“This did not affect the schedule of their passage along a given route because they are provided with all needed resources, as are our groups in Hmeymim and Tartus, where an average of 2,000 tonnes of various cargo is delivered per day,” he added.
On October 15, Russia’s Northern Fleet’s press service said that a group of warships headed by the Admiral Kuznetsov accompanied by the Pyotr Veliky battle cruiser, the Severomorsk and Admiral Kulakov anti-submarine destroyer and support vessels had been sent to the Mediterranean to hold drills and strengthen capabilities.
NATO officials have expressed concerns that the group could be used to support Damascus in the ongoing Syrian civil war. In late October, Russia withdrew its request to enter Spain’s North African port of Ceuta after the Spanish Foreign Ministry said the country might refuse access.