MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has no intentions to open a network of military bases in other countries resembling a US military network abroad, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday.
“Construction of bases similar to those built by the Americans [in other countries] is out of the question,” Lavrov said in an interview with Rossiya television.
The Russian navy has strengthened in the past years and has to deal with practical tasks at present, such as anti-piracy efforts off the coast of Africa. Currently, Russian warships “not just cross oceans for training purposes,” Lavrov said.
“We are simply holding talks with several countries to ensure that our ships and naval vessels have the possibility to use the existing infrastructure there for maintenance, small repairs, resupplies and crew rest,” the minister said.
Lavrov did not specify the countries in question, but Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in February that the list included Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Seychelles, and Singapore.
The defense minister added that the negotiations cover not only military bases but also visits to ports in such countries on favorable conditions as well as the opening of refueling sites for Russian strategic bombers on patrol.
Moscow currently has only one naval base outside the former Soviet Union – in Tartus, Syria, but the fate of this naval facility is uncertain because of the ongoing civil war in that country.
Post-Soviet Russia closed a large naval base in Vietnam and a radar base in Cuba in 2002 due to financial constraints.