Few months after Moscow and Khartoum signed an agreement on establishing a logistic centre for the Russian Navy in Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR) has expressed interest in establishing a Russian military base on its territory.
“Now we need a Russian military base with 5,000 to 10,000 soldiers. At the same time, they could be deployed to other countries if necessary. We have asked for this. When [President of the National Assembly of the Central African Republic Simplis] Sarangi came to the Russian Federation, he reiterated that we need it,” CAR Ambassador to Russia Leon Dodonou-Pounagaza told Russian newspaper Izvestiya last week.
According to him, there are still threats to security in the Central African Republic. The envoy pointed out that there are people with weapons among the refugees from Sudan.
He added that, in his opinion, military cooperation with Moscow should continue, even though it displeases some countries.
Meanwhile, Russia wants to set up a navy base on the Red Sea in Sudan. Sudan is reportedly expecting economic assistance from Russia in exchange for allowing it to build a naval base. The African country will also receive free assistance in search-and-rescue operations and support in anti-sabotage efforts from Russia.
In 2019, Sudan and Russia signed an agreement, which reportedly gives the Russian Navy access to Sudanese ports.
John Godfrey, the first U.S. Ambassador to Sudan in 25 years, warned Khartoum in September 2022 against Russia’s building of a military base in its country.
In February this year, Sudan’s ruling military concluded a review of an agreement with Russia on building the base.
For the Central African Republic, strategic alliance with Russia continues unabated despite western pressures. Moscow is the primary supplier of arms to the African country.
Moscow aims to boost it’s influence in the region following the withdrawal of French troops in C.A.R late last year. The French military has completed it’s withdrawal from the Central African Republic, as the last soldier left the capital Bangui on December 2022.
The departure of French troops from the French colony comes almost four months after the exit of French troops from Mali.
Around four years ago, the Russian military announced plans to send up to 30 military personnel to the Central African Republic in support of a United Nations mission to help stabilize the country.
A decree was signed by President Vladimir Putin on Monday, 4 June 2019, which would involve military observers, staff officers and military communications specialists.
Four weeks ago, Russia supplied six L-39 Albatross light attack and trainer aircraft to the Central African Republic (CAR).
This strategic move by Russia has sparked both curiosity and concerns among global observers. The delivery of military hardware to a conflict-ridden country has wider implications, not just for the CAR but also for regional stability and Russia’s expanding influence in Africa.
Previously, on 2 January 2021, more military equipment were delivered by Russia. Russian private military contractors (Wagner Group) are in CAR providing training to CAR troops as well as VIP protection of the President Faustin-Archange Touadéra. Wagner has been known to carry out direct combat actions in support of the President’s troops.
Furthermore, in 2020 the Central African Republic took delivery of 10 BRDM-2 wheeled armoured reconnaissance and patrol vehicles from Russia. The BRDM-2 vehicles were delivered via an An-124-100 Russian transport aircraft to the airport in the capital of the country, Bangui. Also, several caches of weapons and ammunition were also delivered alongside the BRDM-2 vehicles.