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MOSCOW, March 29, 5:03 /ITAR-TASS/. A senior Russian military official has confirmed that Russia is in talks with a number of Latin American countries over creation of logistics facilities for its naval ships, but at the same time dismissed rumours of Russia’s plans for planting its naval bases in some countries of the region. Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters on Friday media speculations of a looming “Russian military expansion” into Latin America were devoid of any foundation.
Antonov said oppositional media were particularly zealous in that respect. In Venezuela and Nicaragua, for instance, a real information war was well underway, he added.
“The purpose is to discredit the political leadership of both countries and to call in question the mutual benefits of military and military-technical cooperation with Russia,” he said. “Such media either distort the real facts or are reluctant to understand the purposes and tasks of our policy in the region.”
“In that connection we would like to confirm that Russia’s military and military-technical cooperation with countries in the region is first and foremost geared to maintaining stability and international security,” Antonov said. “It is not aimed at harming anyone’s interests. We rely on our partners’ voluntary consent to develop long-term ties.”
Antonov explained that the Russian Navy would like to see simpler rules for it ships to visit the region’s seaports for replenishing water and food reserves and for crews’ recreation and leisure. Also, in some cases the Russian Defence Ministry may need to be sure its ships can undergo minor and medium repairs.
“With this in mind we are holding discussions with our partners in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba over the outlook for concluding agreements on the Russian Navy’s logistic facilities in their territories,” he said.
Antonov also said that Russia’s long-range aircraft might need similar services, too.
However, he pointed out that none of such yet-to-be crated facilities could be interpreted as a military base.
“We have no plans for permanent presence of Russia’s naval or air force units in Latin American countries. We have no such need,” Antonov said.
The military official recalled that international agreements on the deployment of logistics facilities were a common international practice used by the armed forces of many countries.
“No one says that the host state concedes part of its sovereignty. On the contrary, the conclusion of such agreements helps develop seaport and airdrome infrastructures, create jobs and in the final count contribute to the economic development of the partner states,” he said.