After passing through British waters earlier, Russian warships remain in the limelight as the battle group continues its journey. This time, Vladimir Putin's naval vessels are due to drop anchor in Northern Africa.
The Russian fleet's trip to the Middle East has been a major concern for NATO. With the aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov in tow, it has been perceived that the Kremlin is set to reinforce the siege in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Fallout between the West and Russia has surfaced following reports of high civilian casualties inside Syria. What further irked the US-led Allied Coalition is the approach being taken by Putin's troops.
It has been known that airstrikes were aimed at the rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo. Based on current developments, there are no indications that the Russian-backed Al-Assad regime will refrain from assaulting insurgent positions anytime soon.
Before heading to Africa, the Russian Navy has been due to refuel in Spain. However, NATO allies have objected strongly to such move. In fact, Moscow's intention has drawn flak from no less than Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and former UK Navy Chief Admiral West.
The Spanish Foreign Ministry has translated Russia's request as under review. Spain gets itself caught in an awkward position considering that allowing the warships to dock is in direct contrast to what it did last week. In a conference held in Paris, Madrid has expressed its support to save Syria.
The Russian armada is supposed to drop anchor at Africa's north coast of Ceuta just across the Spanish Straits of Gibraltar. Considering the enclave's unclear standing as NATO ally, around 60 Russian war vessels have stopped in the area since 2011.
A permission to dock has already been granted by Spain in September. Since inquiries about its Syrian intentions have cropped up, Moscow has withdrawn its request in Madrid.
UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon comments that it is a concern if a NATO member extends assistance to a Russian fleet that will eventually bomb Syria.