A group of Russian warships from Russia's Black Sea fleet entered the Mediterranean and were anchored at the Spanish port of Cueta Wednesday, according to a report from the pro-Russian news agency Tass. The group of warships and support vessels, which would have also passed in close proximity to the British-held Peninsula of Gibraltar, will be seen as further proof of Russia's renewed naval capability as it seeks to establish itself as a global military power once again.
"The group of the Black Sea Fleet’s warships comprising the Moskva missile cruiser, the Pytlivy escort ship, the Ivan Bubnov large sea tanker and the Shakhtyor rescue tug has passed the Strait of Gibraltar and arrived at the anchorage point in the area of the Spanish port of Ceuta," said Black Sea Fleet spokesman Captain 1st Rank Vyacheslav Trukhachev.
The presence of Russian ships in the region will likely alarm the NATO alliance that has traditionally viewed the western Mediterranean as de facto European region largely free from hostilities. However, since Russia and the West recommenced Cold War-style military tactics in the wake of the annexation of Crimea and military action in East Ukraine, Russia has consistently placed its ships and jets in international water and airspace near to European countries.
Once the ships replenish food and water in the Spanish port, they will continue to conduct firing drills in the region. The group had previously conducted a series of drills in the Atlantic before returning to the Mediterranean.
"A sea battle was one of the main exercise elements in which the Moskva crew test-fired a missile on a target simulating a surface ship. The cruise missile hit the target," said Trukhachev. "In an air defense drill, the Moskva missile cruiser fired the Fort antiaircraft missile system and naval guns on an aerial target. The Pytlivy crew also conducted artillery firing exercise hitting a surface and an air target.”