Russia talking to Cuba, Vietnam and Seychelles about naval bases
The Russian Navy Russia is talking to Cuba, Vietnam and the Indian Ocean island country of Seychelles about housing Russian navy sh...
|The Russian Navy|
Russia is talking to Cuba, Vietnam and the Indian Ocean island country of Seychelles about housing Russian navy ships, the nation’s navy chief said in remarks reported Friday.
Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov told the state RIA Novosti news agency that Russia is in talks about setting up maintenance and supply facilities for Russian ships in those countries but wouldn’t give any further details.
Russia’s only existing naval base outside the Soviet Union is located in the Syrian port of Tartus. A squadron of Russian navy ships, including several assault ships carrying marines, is currently heading to Tartus in a show of support for a longtime ally whom Moscow protected from international sanctions and continued to supply with weapons.
Chirkov’s statement marked a sharp about-face for Russia, which closed a Soviet-era naval base at Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay and a spy base in Lourdes on Cuba in the early 2000s during President Vladimir Putin’s first term.
Along with financial reasons, that move was part of Putin’s bid to improve ties with the United States. But relations with Washington deteriorated and Putin, who was re-elected to a third term in March, has grown increasingly eager to challenge Washington. During his election campaign, he accused the U.S. of encouraging protest against his 12-year rule in order to weaken Russia, and pledged to strengthen the nation’s military might.
Vietnam will allow Russia to set up a ship maintenance base at its port of Cam Ranh
|A high-altitude view and map of the Soviet base at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. 1987|
Vietnam will allow Russia to set up a ship maintenance base at its port of Cam Ranh, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang said on Friday.
Sang, speaking to the Voice of Russia radio station ahead of a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, stressed that the port would not be a Russian military base. But he also said that Cam Ranh would be used to help develop “military co-operation” between the two former Cold War allies.
Sang also said Hanoi was planning to develop the capacity to provide maintenance services to any foreign ship docking at Cam Ranh, a former Soviet naval base.
Russia currently has only one foreign military base outside the former Soviet Union – in Tartus, Syria. But officials say the base is little more than a re-fuelling stop for Russian warships.
Russia’s naval chief, Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov, confirmed on Friday that Russia was in talks on obtaining naval bases in Cuba, Vietnam and in the Seychelles.
“We are indeed continuing work to ensure the stationing of Russian Navy forces outside the Russian Federation,” he said in an interview with RIA Novosti. “As part of this work at the international level, we are discussing issues related to the creation of [ship] maintenance stations in Cuba, in the Seychelles and in Vietnam.”
The Russian Navy saw that it badly needed foreign bases after 2008, when Russian warships joined international anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden. Russia has also discussed the possibility of using ports in Djibouti for its warships in the past.