JNN 29 July 2012 Moscow : Russia is planning to expand its military muscles in some of Moscow’s soviet-era ally countries including the Latin American country of Cuba, Asian country of Vietnam and the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles. Plus The Russian Foreign Ministry says Moscow will not allow the European Union to inspect ships sailing under the Russian flag, and that it will not cooperate with a new round of EU sanctions imposed against Syria.
According to the commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, Moscow is holding talks with the some countries outside of the Russian territory to host its naval bases.
“It is true, we are working on the deployment of Russian naval Bases outside Russian territory,” Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov was quoted as saying.
On Friday, Chirkov told reporters that Russians are discussing the possibility of creating material and technical supply centers on the territory of Cuba, Seychelles and Vietnam.
Russia is already in possession of Tartus naval base in the Syrian coast of the Mediterranean and had a Soviet-era navy foreign base in Cam Ranh in the south of Vietnam.
In 2001, President Putin decided to shut Russia’s Vietnamese base which as a result of an agreement between Vietnam and the Soviet Union in 1971, was in possession of Moscow.
After the closure of Cam Ranh base; Syria’s Tartus base, which was created in 1971 and still hosts Russia’s navy, became the country’s only military base outside of the vast territories of the former USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).
The announcement of the decision comes ahead of a crucial meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Vietnamese counterpart Truong Tan Sang in the Russian capital city of Moscow to discuss the issue of reopening the bases.
According to the Russian RIA Novosty news agency, Russia started to mull over the possibility of opening new naval bases abroad, when its fleet took part in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
According to the agency, at that time Russia was thinking about opening a naval base in the African state of Djibouti.
Moscow’s decision to flex its military muscles in its Soviet-era ally countries comes at a time when tensions between Russia and Western alliance are on the rise.
“We do not plan to take any part in measures carrying out European Union decisions directed against Syria,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Saturday.
“Among other things we will not consider requests and give consent to the search of ships sailing under the Russian flag, nor to the use of other restrictive measures,” the statement added.
On July 25, Moscow condemned the new round of European Union sanctions against Damascus, saying the measures taken by the European Union “can be considered a declaration of a sea and air blockade of Syria.”
“Russia does not recognize them (sanctions) and believes them to be counter-productive.”
The Saturday Russian Foreign Ministry statement was issued on the same day when Syrian security forces began a major operation from the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo to clear the city of foreign-sponsored armed rebels.
There have also been reports of clashes between Syrian troops and rebels in the northern province of Idlib.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a joint press conference with his Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba in Moscow on Saturday that the Syrian government needs to “make some first gestures.”
“But when the armed opposition are occupying cities like Aleppo, where yet another tragedy is brewing as I understand… it is not realistic to expect that they (the government) will accept this,” Lavrov stated. \
“Our Western partners… together with some of Syria’s neighbors are essentially encouraging, supporting and directing an armed struggle against the [Syrian government].”
Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil in Syria since March 2011.
The anti-Syria Western regimes have been calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, but Russia , China and Iran remain strongly opposed to the Western drive to oust Assad.