Malta says no EU pressure to refuse Russian tanker refueling

Malta's foreign minister says the southern European Union nation decided on its own — and not under EU pressure — to withdraw permission for a Russian tanker to refuel in Malta last week.

Foreign Minister George Vella said Wednesday that Malta revoked fueling permission because it did not want to be part of a "war machine." Vella spoke at a joint press conference with the EU commissioner for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, who said there had been no EU directive instructing members not to support the Russian war vessel.

Spain and Malta both withdrew permission to the Russian tanker amid concerns that a flotilla of Russian warships would support airstrikes in Syria.

Vella said this does not mean Malta will not allow Russian vessels to refuel there in the future.