Blog AnalysisRussia Caucasus Ukraine

The Russians begin the “war” of the bases

(B2)Between Americans and Russians, what could be called a base war, or rather a gigantic base monopoly is underway.

In Georgian territories. Russia has announced the opening of a naval base in Abkhazia, in Otchamtchira. Almost the same day she announced suspending the deployment of missiles in Kaliningrad. The base would be built a few miles from Georgia from scratch. But this strategic site was preferred to Sukhumi (the main port of the region) because it also allows control of the territorial waters of the Georgian neighbor, whose marine subsoil would also conceal gas and oil resources according to the Georgians quoted by RIA Novosti. In addition, it is added to the two land bases in the former Georgian territories: in South Ossetia, in the Khodori valley, and in Abkhazia, in Gudauta (*). This naval installation could make it possible to complement, or even partially compensate, Sevastopol (in Ukraine) whose lease ends in 2017. Rather than replacing elsewhere (because, according to the Russian military, Sevastopol is “irreplaceable“), it is rather a matter of putting pressure on both the Ukrainians and the West to convince them that after all, it is better for the Russians to stay in Ukraine rather than skimming elsewhere.

Worrying for the EU. "This is very worrying. This creation will really cause us serious problems for the Geneva negotiations” (between Georgians, Russians, Ossetians and Abkhazians, the 3rd round of which opens next week), estimates a high-ranking European diplomat. The Czech presidency has, moreover, reacted officially on behalf of the EU, considering that it is “a serious violation of the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, in which the EU is strongly involved. Any military construction in Abkhazia and South Ossetia should contradict the spirit (NB: the spirit not the letter) ceasefire agreements of August and September 2008 and harm the stability and security of the region by increasing tensions”system. (download the press release, in English)

Basic research. Russia also plans to create other bases – smaller, rather “stopover bases” – in the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean: in Tartous (Syria), in Socotra (Yemen), in Tripoli (Libya). or in Cam Ranh (Vietnam), according to the Russian press relayed by the Novosti agency.

And the closure of the US base in Kyrgyzstan. Russia has also obtained from Kyrgyzstan a commitment to eventually close the American base at Manas (the Kyrgyz Parliament votes this week
next time, on this point, denunciation of the agreement leads to a closure of the base with six months' notice normally). A closure which is accompanied by “financial compensation” given by Russia to the former Soviet Republic: check for 450 million dollars and cancellation of a Kyrgyz debt to Russia of 180 million dollars.

(*) The land base is, in itself, only a replica of the imitation American base in Tbilisi. The “embassy” of the United States – with around 500 people – and extending over several hectares, looks more like a base than an embassy proportionate to the importance of the country… “Effectively” we recognize, on the European side, without really wanting to admit that “c'est un


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).