The announcement of Russia's plans to create a logistics centre for the Navy in Sudan has been the most recent move by Russia making its strong comeback to Africa. Akram Kharief, defence and security expert, and the Director of Mena Defense, gave the "New Defence Order. Strategy" his take on the matter.
Russia returns to the Red Sea by announcing its plan to open a naval logistics support base in Sudan. Thirty years after the closure of the Soviet bases in Aden and Socotra, Russia intends to reaffirm its place of power alongside traditional players and newcomers to the region, says Kharief.
The chosen location is strategic. Port Sudan will host 300 support personnel and up to four frontline ships, that is, nuclear cruisers and submarines. It will be located in the northern suburbs of Port Sudan, according to the geographic coordinates mentioned in the thirty-page document. The text also provides that Russia will have the right to transport via the ports and airports of Sudan "weapons, ammunition and equipment" necessary for the operation of this naval base, the defence and security expert continues.
The seven-year military cooperation agreement signed in May 2019 between Russia and Sudan states that this logistics hub "is defensive and does not pose a threat to any other country in the region" and its aim is to "maintain peace and stability in the region".
The opening of this base proclaims the geopolitical return of Russia that began about ten years ago with the strengthening of military relations and the increase in the volumes of arms sales for these main African customers such as Algeria, Egypt, and Angola. The shattering entry of the Russian Federation into Central Africa by securing the training and rebuilding program of their army under the aegis of the United Nations was a milestone proclaiming the definitive return of Moscow to the African game. If we finally add the nuclear agreements with Egypt, Sudan, and Algeria, we have confirmation of what has been written previously, adds Kharief.
Kharief concludes: The opening of the Red Sea naval base is in addition to the installation of many others around the Bab al-Mandab strait which separates the Indian Ocean from this sea. The USA, France, and China have established a lasting presence in Djibouti, the United Arab Emirates, have set up a gigantic base in Eritrea, and its Turkish rival has anchored in Somalia. Israel and Egypt are also on the list of countries wanting to dispatch troops to North and South Sudan.
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