MOSCOW – Russia is considering reopening its old military bases in Cuba and Vietnam, the Soviet Union’s former communist allies, according to statements made by Russia’s Deputy Minister of Defense on Friday.
Cuba and Vietnam were two of the Cold War’s main flash points, as both the United Stated and the former Soviet Union had military bases in these two strategic nations.
“We are working on this,” said Deputy Minister of Defense Nikolai Pankov during a press conference, although he declined to elaborate regarding the bilateral negotiations.
Russia’s intentions to reopen its naval bases in both countries were announced by Russia four years ago, when Havana and Moscow entered a new period of cooperation.
In Vietnam, the Russian navy was deployed in the deep water port of Cam Ranh Bay, a massive former U.S. Navy base from the Vietnam War era.
In Cuba, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the closure of the Lourdes Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) facility shortly after his arrival to power.
The Lourdes station was the last outpost of the once-massive Soviet presence in Cuba, and its closure was a decision that was heavily criticized in Russian military circles.
In December 2008, a Russian Navy flotilla led by the anti-submarine destroyer “Admiral Chabanenko” opened a new era when it made a port call in Havana, the first visit since 1991.
During the past few years, both countries have attempted to re-establish the close collaboration that existed between Havana and Moscow during the Soviet Union era.
The Kremlin has welcomed the normalization of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States, although it insists the U.S. embargo on the Caribbean island must be lifted.