MOSCOW, (Reuters) – Russia has decided to establish naval bases in Libya, Syria and Yemen within a few years, a Russian military official was quoted as saying on Friday by Itar-Tass news agency.
“It is difficult to say how much time it will take to create the bases for our fleet in these countries, but within a few years this will be done without question,” the official was quoted as saying.
“The political decision on this question has been taken,” the official said. A spokesman for the Russian navy could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Kremlin is seeking to play a more assertive role in world politics and has been using its military to project its new-found confidence beyond its borders.
Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers regularly fly around the globe on patrols, and warships traverse the oceans in another show of force by Moscow.
Analysts have said that the Syrian port of Tartus could be revived as a Russian naval base. During the Cold War, the Soviet navy had a permanent presence in the Mediterranean, using Tartus as a supply point.
Russian media reported that opening a naval base in the Libyan port of Benghazi was among the main issues discussed during Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s visit to Moscow in October last year.