From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Feb 09 2009 - 17:36:14 EST
Russian Navy denies Socotra military base news
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
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
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.
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