Russian Navy denies Socotra military base news
Turk1 wrote:I read somewhere the Russians wanted to open a base on one of Yemen's islands to combat piracy. No need for a MED base if you get that.
Mohamed Bin Sallam
SOCOTRA, Feb. 6 — An official spokesman for the Russian Navy described rumors that the Russian and US Navy will establish military bases in Yemen as "baseless and incorrect."
Colonel Igor Degeluo, assistant of the Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief, said in a statement to the Russian News Agency, RIA Novosti, that the Russian Navy has no intention to establish Russian maritime military bases outside the country.
Local media reported that a source in the Russian Navy leadership had said that there is a political decision to provide bases for the Russian Navy in Yemen, Syria and Libya.
International news agencies reported that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh suggested to the Russian Kremlin speaker, Sergei Mironov, last October that the country establish a Russian Navy base in Yemen, information that the Russian Navy denied last January 16.
The Russian News Agency had reported last January that the Russian Navy intended to secure its continuous presence in three foreign countries- Yemen, Syria and Libya.
An unofficial source in the Russian Navy did however say that there is a political decision to provide Russian Navy bases in these countries, within the next few years. The Russian Navy will establish its base on the island of Socotra in Yemen, in the port of Tartus in Syria and in the port of Tripoli in Libya.
General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, vice-commander-in-chief of the Russian Military Forces, told journalists that Russia is conducting discussions with foreign countries to find a base to secure its navy’s regular presence in remote seas to protect the supreme interests of Russia.
Russia views military bases in Tartus and Tripoli as necessary to enable its navy to follow developments in the Middle East.
Experts expressed their doubts about the ability of the Russian Navy to achieve what it aims during the next few years. They said that establishing a military base requires large funds whereas Russia is currently in the grips of a financial crisis, just like the rest of the world.
It has been reported that what Russia aims to do is to find suitable sea ports in which its military ships can dock. The purpose is to provide these sites with the necessary infrastructure to ensure ships can refuel and restock on supplies and ammunition, which is different from establishing a complete military base.
Four Russian military ships are currently based near Yemeni shores to protect the trade ships from piracy.
A Russian helicopter launched an air strike last month from one of the Russian military ships against a Yemeni fishing boat by mistake. A fisherman was killed and another two injured. Sources said that Russian officials apologized to the Yemeni authorities and showed readiness to pay compensations. They further said that the Russian officials confirmed that they would give strict orders to their soldiers not to fire before having identified the boats in the Gulf of Aden and Yemeni waters.
Local observers told the Yemen Times that the Yemeni authorities facilitated the Russian navy to dock in a Yemeni sea port. They said that through such a move, Yemen would maintain the balance by preventing potential US or Western dominance of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden under the pretext of combating piracy.