Russia establishes its first naval base in Africa

US warship has also entered Port Sudan
Atalayar_Fragata rusa Africa

PHOTO/AFP  -   View of the Russian Navy frigate RFS Admiral Grigorovich (494), anchored in Port Sudan

The first Russian warship has entered Port Sudan, the Sudanese port where Russia is planning to build a naval base on Sudan's Red Sea coast. State news agency Interfax reported, citing the Russian fleet on Sunday, that the Admiral Grigorovich is the first Russian warship to enter the port.

Earlier in November, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an agreement on the creation of a logistics support centre capable of mooring nuclear-powered surface vessels in Sudan. Here, repair and refuelling operations will be carried out and crew members will be provided with rest breaks. 

The agreement has a duration of 25 years, under which Russia will have the right to transport weapons, ammunition and equipment through Sudanese ports and airports. The facility has a limited capacity of 300 military and civilian personnel, and will also have four ships, including nuclear-powered ones. 

Russia has been exploring Africa with the aim of improving its geopolitical position and signed an agreement in May 2019 with Sudan under which they will cooperate militarily and civilian and will last for seven years. So the Red Sea naval base will be Russia's first in Africa and the second on foreign soil, after Tartous in Syria.

Atalayar_Fragata rusa
PHOTO/AFP - (L to R) the Russian Navy frigate RFS Admiral Grigorovich (494) and (R) the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), both at anchor in Port Sudan

On the other hand, the US also introduced a warship to Sudan on Monday, a day after Moscow did, and it is the same key Red Sea port.

Following the April 2019 ouster of Omar al-Bashir, Sudan was removed from Washington's list of state sponsors of terrorism as part of a deal for Sudan to agree to normalise ties with Israel.

The arrival of the guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill in Port Sudan follows Khartoum's removal from Washington's list.

The USNS Carson City, a fast expeditionary transport ship, arrived in Sudan's port on 24 February and was the first US Navy ship to visit Sudan "in decades", according to a statement at the time from the US Embassy in Khartoum. 

Atalayar_El comandante Timothy Shanley
PHOTO/AFP - Commander Timothy Shanley (C), commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) talks with US Chief of Mission Brian Shukan (R) in Khartoum

According to the statement, this underscores the US military's willingness to strengthen its renewed partnership with the Sudanese Armed Forces. 

The arrival of the USS Churchill was "the second (US) ship to call in Sudan this week," said US Chargé d'Affaires Brian Shukan. Shukan added in a message on Twitter that its arrival "sheds light on U.S. support for a democratic transition in Sudan.