Russia plans to open a military logistics hub for nuclear warships in Sudan, according to a draft deal that also allows Russia to ferry weapons in and out of the volatile northeast African country.
Under the draft deal published on the government website, the Russian Navy will station up to four warships, including those with nuclear capabilities, and up to 300 service members in a Sudanese port.
The yet-to-be-signed agreement also allows Russia to send weapons, ammunition and supplies for the warships and exempts Russia from import duty and inspection.
In exchange, Russia will provide Sudan free assistance in search-and-rescue operations and support in antisabotage efforts.
The geographic coordinates cited in the document suggest that the Russian Navy’s logistics hub will be located in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan. The Meduza news website reported a sighting of four vessels resembling warships at the location.
The agreement states that Russia’s logistics hub “is defensive and not directed against other countries” and “meets the goals of maintaining peace and stability in the region.” Russia and Sudan signed a seven-year military cooperation deal in May 2019.
Russia has in recent years pushed to regain its Soviet-era strategic influence in Africa with investments in its energy and mineral industries.
Russia recognized the new leadership in Sudan after longtime leader and close Moscow ally Omar al-Bashir was ousted in a military coup last year.
This fall, Sudan joined the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in recognizing and normalizing ties with Israel, leading U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.