Russia Considers Reopening Military Bases in Cuba and Vietnam

In 2008, the ‘Almirante Chabanenko’ submarine hunter destroyer opened a new era by landing in Havana for the first time since 1991. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger 14ymedio/EFE, Havana, 6 November 2017 — Viktor Bondarev, head of the Russian Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council, said on Sunday that Russia should consider restoring its military presence in Cuba and Vietnam to protect “the interests of national security” due to an “intensification of American aggression,” according to Sputnik, the Russian state portal.

The statements of the politician came hours after the announcement that Russia will “put all its efforts” into reestablishing its base in Cuba in response to the hostile activities of the US and NATO.

Russia maintained its military presence on the island until 2002 through the Lourdes electronic radio station, located near Havana, which was used to spy on communications in the US since its establishment in 1967. Its closure by President Vladimir Putin disturbed Russian military circles.

According to Bondarev, the Russian military presence on the island allowed it to contain a possible US expansion into Cuban territory, considered strategic for Russia.

“We should also think about the return of our Navy to Vietnam,” Bondarev added, speaking to Sputnik. As in the case of Cuba, the stay of the Russian fleet in the Asian country ended in 2002 after 23 years of military presence that began after the war between China and Vietnam in 1979.

“Everything has to be agreed with Havana,” said Bondarev, adding that, in the case of Vietnam, the creation of a military base also requires the permission of the authorities of that country.

This is not the first time, recently, that Moscow has raised the idea of restoring its military presence on the island. Last October, Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov announced that the Russian government was considering reopening military bases in the territories of its two former allies.

According to the EFE news agency, four years ago Moscow also announced that it intended to recover its naval bases in Cuba and Vietnam; and, according to Sputnik, in April 2016 Valeri Rashkin and Sergei Óbujov, deputies of the Duma, the Russian Parliament, asked Putin and the Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigú, to restore the Russian center in Lourdes in Cuba, “in response to the plans of USA to deploy Himars missile launchers in Turkey.”

In December 2008, a Russian flotilla led by the ‘Almirante Chabanenko’ submarine hunter destroyer opened a new era by landing in Havana for the first time since 1991.