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Sudan is home to the first Russian military base in Africa since the collapse of the USSR

Russia will set up a naval logistics center and repair yard off the coast of Sudan. This emerges from an agreement that Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed on November 6th with the rulers of the Islamic-African country and which are bathed by the strategic Red Sea. The naval logistics center will accommodate up to 300 people, including members of the armed forces, especially the Russian Navy, and civilian personnel. The base’s docks will accommodate up to four warships, including nuclear-powered ones like the large cruisers on Project 1144 Orlan.

According to the agreement, the Khartoum government will provide Russia with the necessary port infrastructure and provide them with the land on which it is located free of charge. In addition, Russia can transport any type of military equipment, ammunition and other material through Sudanese ports if necessary.

The naval center will operate under the jurisdiction of Russia and the agreement will last for 25 years, with the option to extend it for 10 years after the term. The Naval Logistics Center in Sudan will be the first Russian military base in Africa since the collapse of the USSR. During this time it had a permanent naval facility in Somalia, but after assisting Ethiopia in the Ogaden War against the Somalis in the late 1970s, it lost those facilities. A few years ago, Russia was looking for a way to establish a permanent base in the region, particularly in Djibouti (very close to the Horn of Africa), where Chinese and American bases and the corresponding logistics facilities are already located in its port. Negotiations failed.

It is not clear how much it will cost to keep the facility open, although according to Russian media the VMF has estimated around 3.2 billion rubles (€ 35 million) annually, an amount equivalent to what is spent annually on maintenance at its base in Tartus, Syria), a key body to the Kremlin’s strategy in the Mediterranean. This naval logistics center, used during the Soviet era, was consolidated as an important permanent base after Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war on behalf of the dictator Al-Assad.

Talks to open a naval facility in Sudan accelerated after then-Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir visited Russia in 2017. Despite a coup in 2019 that removed him from power, talks continued pending fertilization with the country’s new de facto head, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan. In 2019, the Kremlin hosted a Russia-Africa summit that was attended by more than 40 African heads of state and government. President Putin is very interested in African affairs, said a senior member of the Russian parliament who deals with African affairs. (Julio Maz Sanz)

Photo: The gigantic nuclear cruiser Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great) and the other VMF units will soon have a base in Sudan.

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