The tails of The Royal Air Force aerobatic team, the Red Arrows, are seen during The Royal International Air Tattoo at the RAF in Fairford July 11, 2014. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Russia Condemns UK Foreign Army Base Plans, Says Ready to Defend Interests


JANUARY 13, 2019

Moscow. Russia has condemned British plans to open military bases in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean and said it stood ready to take retaliatory measures if its own interests or those of its allies were threatened.

Britain's Secretary of State for Defense Gavin Williamson told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper last month that London was working on plans to build two new foreign bases "within the next couple of years" after it left the European Union.

Williamson did not specify where the bases might be built, but the newspaper reported that options included Singapore or Brunei near the South China Sea and Montserrat or Guyana in the Caribbean.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia's foreign ministry, described Williamson's comments on Friday as baffling and warned that such plans could destabilize world affairs.

"Of course, Britain like any other country, is independent when it comes to its military construction plans. But against the backdrop of overall rising military and political tensions in the world ... statements about the desire to build up its military presence in third countries are counterproductive, destabilizing and possibly of a provocational nature," she said.

"In the event of any measures that pose a threat to Russia's security or that of its allies our country reserves the right to take appropriate retaliatory measures."

Russia has military bases in several countries across the former Soviet Union and operates military facilities in Syria and has spoken of reopening Soviet-era bases in Cuba and Vietnam.