Russia's defense minister is assailing NATO for applying pressure to deny port access to Russian warships en route to Syria's shores.

Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday the denial hasn't affected the mission of a Russian aircraft carrier group, adding that it has all the necessary supplies.

The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and escorting vessels are now in the Mediterranean, heading to Syria's coast. Russia had sought permission for some of the ships to call at Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta, but later withdrew its request as NATO allies piled pressure on Madrid over concerns that the ships could be used to ramp up air attacks in Syria.

Shoigu said: "It's time for our Western partners to determine whom they are fighting: terrorists or Russia."