- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
Navy chief says Russia wants naval bases abroad
MOSCOW — Russia is talking to Cuba, Vietnam and the Indian Ocean island country of Seychelles about housing Russian navy ships, the nation's navy chief said in remarks reported Friday.
Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov told the state RIA Novosti news agency that Russia is in talks about setting up maintenance and supply facilities for Russian ships in those countries but wouldn't give any further details, the Associated Press reported.
Russia's only existing naval base outside the Soviet Union is located in the Syrian port of Tartus. A squadron of Russian navy ships, including several assault ships carrying marines, is currently heading to Tartus in a show of support for a longtime ally whom Moscow protected from international sanctions and continued to supply with weapons.
Chirkov's statement marked a sharp about-face for Russia, which closed a Soviet-era naval base at Vietnam's Cam Ranh Bay and a spy base in Lourdes on Cuba in the early 2000s during President Vladimir Putin's first term.
Along with financial reasons, that move was part of Putin's bid to improve ties with the United States. But relations with Washington deteriorated and Putin, who was re-elected to a third term in March, has grown increasingly eager to challenge Washington. During his election campaign, he accused the U.S. of encouraging protest against his 12-year rule in order to weaken Russia, and pledged to strengthen the nation's military might.
Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang said his country is ready to allow Russia to set up a servicing facility in Can Ramh Bay, a former Soviet naval base though Vietnam will not lease its territory to any country, in an interview broadcast by Voice of Russia radio, AFP reported.
Russia doesn't have the naval resources at the moment for a permanent presence outside its territorial waters, with only about 30 major warships split between five fleets, so the possibility of opening resupply bases doesn't mean an expansion of Russian maritime power, said Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent defense analyst in Moscow in an AFP report.
"But this is good news for the U.S. Navy," which is seeking more funding, Felgenhauer said. "They can go to Congress to warn that Russia is trying to get a presence around the world."
In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman said the United States was not concerned by Russian moves to re-establish foreign bases.
"The Russian government has interest in various parts of the world, it's their right to promote those interests," George Little said.
He noted that the United States is itself pursuing closer relations with Vietnam. "They have allowed access for U.S. supply ships to enter Vietnamese waters, including Cam Ranh Bay," he said.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- Leon Panetta named as source of 'Zero Dark Thirty' scriptwriters information
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow