The Spanish navy's high-altitude patrol boat Centinela intercepted and began following and monitoring two Russian ships on Tuesday in the western Mediterranean Sea, according to a report from the Spanish Defense Staff (EMAD), a body of the Spanish Defense Ministry.
The two Russian ships were identified as the frigate Admiral Kasatonov and the tanker Akademik Pashin.
The Centinela is currently integrated into the framework of the Spanish Armed Forces' Permanent Operations, according to EMAD, in which it carries out surveillance and security duties in the waters off Spain's southern coast. Its primary aim is to safeguard national interests in Spanish sovereign waters.
Russian naval activity
A ship from Russia that was reportedly carrying military supplies and equipment was seen crossing the Black Sea in recent days, according to a Sunday report from Naval News.
The report describes the Russian ship, Sparta IV, "slipping quietly" into the sea with supplies before heading towards the Port of Novorossiysk, likely providing ammunition for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The ship is only one of four owned by the Russian shipping company SC South LLC, which is involved in transporting military supplies. The US government sanctioned the company and its ship "under the Specially Designated Nationals list (SDN) following the invasion of Ukraine," the report said.
Spain-Russia relations in the limelight
Spanish police impounded a superyacht belonging to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg on behalf of US authorities in April 2022, the first time the United States had seized property belonging to a Russian oligarch since its invasion of Ukraine in February of that year.
Valued at more than 90 million euros ($99 million), the 78 meter-long "Tango" (256 ft) was seized in a shipyard on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, the Guardia Civil police and the US Justice Department said in parallel statements.
The Spanish police added that documents and data storage devices were also seized from the ship.
Reuters contributed to this report.