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Russian Warships Refueling At Sea After Canceling Spanish Port Call

A flotilla of Russian warships en route to the eastern Mediterranean has been refueling at sea near the Strait of Gibraltar.

The eight-vessel flotilla, headed by the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, was refueling at sea on October 28 after cancelling a request to do so at the Spanish-controlled port of Ceuta on the North African coast the previous day.

Spain came under heavy international criticism for allowing the flotilla to resupply at its facilities because of concerns that Russia intends to boost its military capabilities in supporting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russian and Syrian forces have been accused of inflicting civilian casualties in and around the city of Aleppo.

The BBC reported that two tanker ships had joined the flotilla, but it is unclear where they came from.

In 2009, Russia acknowledged that the Admiral Kuznetsov spilled some 300 tons of fuel into the sea off the coast of Ireland during a botched at-sea refueling operation.

Based on reporting by the BBC