Russia denies plans to plant overseas military bases
MOSCOW, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Senior Russian officials have denied that the country intends to build a network of military bases abroad, but confirmed Moscow was in talks with several countries over the creation of logistics facilities for its naval ships.
"Construction of bases similar to those built by the Americans (in other countries) is out of the question," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a local television interview released Saturday.
Noting that Russian warships do "not just cross oceans for training purposes," Lavrov said the navy has been ratcheting up such efforts as countering piracy off the African coast.
He added that Moscow was consulting with some 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 did not specify the countries involved.
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters on Friday that Russia is "holding discussions with our partners in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba over the outlook for concluding agreements on the Russian Navy's logistic facilities in their territories."
Antonov said an information war was "well underway" in some Latin American countries, adding "we would like to confirm that Russia's military and military-technical cooperation with countries in the region ... is not aimed at harming anyone's interests."
"We have no plans for (the) permanent presence of Russia's naval or air force units in Latin American countries. We have no such need," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted him as saying.
Currently, Russia has only one naval base outside the former Soviet Union territories, which is in Syria's Tartus. Russia closed a naval base in Vietnam and a radar base in Cuba in 2002 due to financial constraints.