Since 2011, Russian warships have refuelled at the port of Ceuta (Spain) on a regular basis, using the services of an oil company, Ducar, run  by relatives of Miguel Arias Cañete, a Partido Popular politician who is the current European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Change and a former cabinet member in the Spanish government.

Cañete was president of the company until January 2012, just before being named a minister in the Spanish government. Cañete’s brother-in-law, Miguel Domecq Solis, has run the company since February 28, 2012.

The Russian warships, for the most part, use Ducar’s facilities at the docks of Levante and Poniente. A frigate such as Landy, which has already refuelled several times at the port of the North-African city, fills its tanks with between 200 and 260 tons of diesel fuel provided by Ducar. The local media has confirmed on several occasions  that Ducar is the direct supplier of diesel to the Russian ships: Ceuta Actualidad and Tiempo de Ocio Ceuta.

In a 2013 parliamentary appearance, Cañete said that he owned Ducar SL stock; specifically, he acknowledged having a 2.5% stake in the company, or 85,509 shares, worth a total of 185,104 euros.

At the time, Cañete explained that Ducar was dedicated exclusively to the storage of oil, which was then sold by third parties. The company’s own website, however, contradicts this account and makes it clear that it supplies fuel directly to ships.

Since 2011, at least sixty Russian warships have refuelled in the port of Ceuta, to NATO’s growing concern. Today, several ships intending to dock at the port turned back after outrage over the publication in the international media of reports that these ships—the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov among them—were on their way to participate in the bombing of Aleppo.

The carrier, officially classified by the Russian Navy as an aircraft carrying cruiser, is accompanied by the Kirov-class heavy missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy, the Vice Admiral Kulakov and Severomorsk destroyers, and several supply ships. The warplanes aboard the Admiral Kuznetsov include carrier-based variants of the Su-33 air superiority fighters and Ka-27/Ka-29 ASW helicopters.

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