Russia says it is considering the possibility of resuming its military presence in Vietnam and Cuba, more than a decade after it withdrew from the two countries as a result of the demise of the Soviet Union.
The Russian military is “reviewing” the decision in the early 2000s to close its bases in the two states, Russian news agencies quoted Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov as saying at the parliament in Moscow on Friday.
“As for our presence on faraway outposts, we are doing this work,” he added.
In 2002, Russia lowered its flag at the deepwater Cam Ranh naval base in Vietnam and the Lourdes signals intelligence facility in Cuba as part of a drawing down of its military presence across the world.
The withdrawals were ordered by President Vladimir Putin, who cited the need to cut costs as the reason behind the move.
Asked Friday about the possibility of the Russian military’s return to Cuba and Vietnam, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov stressed that the global security situation has become “rather fluid” over the past two years.
“Naturally, all countries assess those changes from the point of view of their national interests and take steps they consider necessary,” he said.
Meanwhile, Aleksy Chepa, a former deputy chief of the foreign affairs committee in the Russian legislature, welcomed the idea of reinforcing the country's global military presence.
"I believe that it would correspond with Russian interests to restore the bases in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa that were closed,” he said
In February 2014, Russia first revealed its intention to activate bases in several countries, among them Cuba and Vietnam.
Russia’s decision to reopen its military bases comes at a time that Washington-Moscow relations have plunged to the lowest point since the Cold War times with the two powers primarily at odds over the crisis in Syria and the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia has a naval base in the Syrian port city of Tartus as well as Hmeimim Air Base in the Arab country's coastal province of Latakia.
On Friday, the lower house of the Russian parliament ratified an agreement with the Damascus government that allows Russian troops to stay indefinitely in Syria.