Russia is strengthening its military bases abroad as well as helping to boost the armed forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.
“In recent years, we have worked to strengthen the Russian military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan: we have increased the number of air defense units at the Kant airbase [in Kyrgyzstan], and the 201st base now has a divisional structure,” Shoigu said at a security conference in Moscow.
The International Security Conference began in Moscow Friday for the third time. The event is being attended by military experts and government officials from a number of countries, including China, Belarus, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Serbia.
Defense ministers or deputy ministers from the member countries of the CSTO and SCO are also planning to attend the conference. Two panel discussions are expected: “The Search for Ways to Stabilize the Situation in the Middle East and North Africa” and “Afghanistan and Regional Security.”
European Union, US and NATO representatives, critical of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, refused to participate in the event.
Previously Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after his trip to four Latin American countries that Moscow had no plans of creating military bases in the region but might establish some sustainment centers for the Russian Navy there.
“There will be no bases – we don’t need them,” Lavrov said on Rossiya’s news show ‘Sergey Brilev’s News on Saturday,’ noting that in order for the Russian Navy to sail worldwide, it needs sustainment centers for refueling, maintenance of the vessels, and recreation of the crews.
“We’re not after setting up such centers in every country,” the minister stressed. “We will consider the proposals and these centers will be set up wherever it would be best possible for our Navy to negotiate with the host countries,” Lavrov said.
Back in March, there were reports that Russia may open naval bases overseas, with Argentina, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela named as possible locations. Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov then elaborated that Moscow had no intentions of setting up any military bases in Latin America and is only considering sustainment centers for Russian military ships in various ports across the globe.
At the moment, Russia has military bases in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Abkhazia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Tajikistan, and South Ossetia.