Kremlin green-lights Russian naval base project in Sudan
Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved the draft agreement between his country and Sudan for the establishment of a Russian naval base on the shores of the African country.
The draft deal was announced last week and waited for the Russian leader’s stamp. The base will be Russia’s first ever full military presence in Africa and the second in the world, after Tartus in Syria.
The future military facility will be built near Port Sudan, on the shores of the Red Sea. It will be able to accommodate up to 300 soldiers and employees as stipulated in the agreement, in addition to ships equipped with nuclear gear “taking into account nuclear and environmental safety requirements”, provided that no more than four ships would anchor simultaneously.
Under the deal, Russia will have the right to transport, via Sudanese ports and airports, arms, ammunitions and equipment intended for the operation of its base.
Sudan, according to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, had approved the establishment of the base on its territory, while pledging to develop and modernize the country’s infrastructure in order to maintain and supply Russian warships and provide hospitality services for crew members.
“The project stems from a mutual desire of Moscow and Khartoum to strengthen and develop military cooperation to increase the defense capacity of both states,” Mishutin said in a statement.
“The presence of the Russian naval logistics base in Sudan, which is set for defense purposes, meets with goals of maintaining peace and stability in the region, and not to pose any threat to other countries.”
Russia is willing to provide Sudan with the military equipment and weapons for free in a move to protect the military facility from any attack.
Both countries agreed on a 25-year deal for the base but can mutually extend the agreement for 10 consecutive years if neither side expresses in written form the desire to end the contract.
In 2017, deposed President Omar Bashir travelled to Moscow to seek Russia’s assistance to upgrade Sudanese armed forces.
Current leaders of the African country have expressed willingness to maintain political, economic and military agreements signed with Russia.