Russia considers restoring military bases in Vietnam and Cuba

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 October, 2016, 10:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 October, 2016, 10:42pm

Russia is considering plans to restore military bases in Vietnam and Cuba that had served as pivots of Soviet global military power during the cold war, Russian news agencies quoted Russian Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Pankov as saying on Friday.

“We are dealing with this issue,” the agencies quoted Pankov as saying in Russia’s parliament.

Tass reported that Aleksey Chepa, the deputy chairman of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, has been pushing the idea.

“It is necessary to consider the issue of our presence in other regions of the world,” Chepa was quoted as saying. “I believe that it would meet Russia’s national interests to restore our military bases in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa.”

The global situation is not static, it is in flux ... it’s quite natural that all countries assess these changes in line with their national interests and take certain steps in the way they consider appropriate
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Russia lowered its flag at the Lourdes signals intelligence base in Cuba and the deep water Cam Rahn naval base in Vietnam in the early 2000s as part of a drawing down of Russia’s military presence around the world after the demise of the Soviet Union.

But since then, Moscow’s foreign policy has become more assertive, leading to tensions with the United States and its allies over, among other issues, the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and the presence of Nato troops in eastern Europe.

Pankov said the Defence Ministry was currently “rethinking” past decisions on closure of the bases, but declined to go into detail. Vietnam’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Cuban officials were not available.

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The United States is in the process of reviving its relations with Cuba, which in Soviet times had offered Moscow its closest military installation to US territory, less than 160km from the Florida Keys.

“The global situation is not static, it is in flux, and the last two years have made significant changes to international affairs and security,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters.

“Therefore, it’s quite natural that all countries assess these changes in line with their national interests and take certain steps in the way they consider appropriate.”