Putin approved the creation of a Russian naval facility in Sudan capable of mooring nuclear-powered surface vessels, clearing the way for Moscow’s first substantial military foothold in Africa since the Soviet fall.
“Our base in Sudan will be another argument for others to hear us and take heed,” said an opinion piece in TASS about the new facility.
The new facility, earmarked to be built in the vicinity of Port Sudan, will be capable of accommodating up to 300 military and civilian personnel and improve Russia’s ability to operate in the Indian Ocean, expanding its influence in Africa. The hub would be used for repair and resupply operations and as a place where Russian naval personnel could take rest, it said. The new facility will make it easier for the Russian Navy to operate in the Indian Ocean by being able to fly in replacement crews for its long-range ships.
The land for the base will be supplied for free by Sudan and Moscow would get the right to bring in any weapons, ammunition and other equipment it needs through Sudan’s airports and ports to support the new facility.
Moscow is keen to increase its influence in Africa, a continent with sprawling mineral wealth, and potentially lucrative markets for Russian-manufactured weapons. It is jockeying for influence and a military foothold in Africa with other nations, including China.
It has also forecast that Russia will fortify its new African outpost with advanced surface-to-air missile systems, allowing it to create a no-fly zone for miles around.
Djibouti is home to Chinese, U.S. and French naval bases, while other navies often use its port.