World News

Russian navy eyes military base in Vietnam - report

MOSCOW, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Russia’s navy is ready to rebuild a defunct military base in Vietnam, Interfax news agency cited a navy source as saying on Wednesday, as Russia revamps its armed forces and flex its military muscle on the global stage.

Cam Ranh was the main U.S. Air Force base during the Vietnam War and became the Soviet Union’s largest foreign naval base after it signed a 25-year lease with Vietnam in 1979. Russia pulled out in 2002 after what it said was years of disuse.

The base would host Russian ships in the region, Interfax said. The Russian Navy could not be reached for comment.

“If the political decision is made, then the Russian Navy is ready to begin work on the base within three years,” an unnamed source told the news agency.

Military officials in Russia often leak projects to domestic media in hope of garnering government support, or to lay groundwork for plans that have already been approved.

Vietnam asked Russia to pay rent in 2002, two years before the lease expired, leading then-president and now prime minister Vladimir Putin to withdraw from Cam Ranh.

Reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Louise Ireland