Russia to expand foreign naval bases: Medvedev

President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that Russia intended to expand the number of its foreign naval bases as it tries to catch up with the military capabilities of the West.

Moscow: President Dmitry Medvedev said
on Thursday that Russia intended to expand the number of its foreign
naval bases as it tries to catch up with the military
capabilities of the West.

Medvedev conceded at a meeting with Russia`s top brass
that the country was losing some of its Soviet-era allies and
now more than ever need to negotiate a series of new foreign
base agreements with new partner states.
"Unfortunately, the reality is that a number of our
previous opportunities have disappeared," Medvedev said in
televised remarks.

Medvedev said that he now had "certain ideas" about
how these could be replaced.

"But for obvious reasons, I will not say them out
loud," he added.

Russia has in the past decade lost several of its most
important Soviet-era bases, including in Cuba and Vietnam.

These and other losses have left Russia unable to
support major naval exercises, leaving the once-mighty force
largely confined to the European seas and Russia`s Pacific
coast.
Medvedev admitted that this has left Russia at
tremendous disadvantage to Western powers, which have
supported and built new bases since the Soviet Union`s
collapse.

"In this sense, our current partners have much better
conditions because they have put up bases the world over. And
they enter them and refuel."

Russia, meanwhile, has to support all its major sea
operations with a fleet of refuelling ships, "which is very
expensive and completely inefficient," Medvedev said.

"All in all, this is a subject demanding careful
government involvement," Medvedev said.

PTI

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