Russia and Sudan have signed an agreement to establish a military logistics center for the Russian Navy in the Red Sea City of Port Sudan.
According to an official document published Tuesday, the agreement was signed on December 1. The nuclear submarines logistics hub would also be used to station Russian vessels to allow it to ferry weapons in and out of the African nation.
As draft deal published by the government last month said the Navy will station up to four warships and up to 300 service members in the Sudanese port. On November 11, Russia’s Meduza reported sighting four vessels resembling warships at the location.
Russia will also be able to import and export weapons, ammunition and supplies for the warships, duty-free and exempt from scrutiny. In return, Sudan will receive free assistance in search-and-rescue operations and support in anti-sabotage efforts from Russia.
The agreement states that the plan to open the hub “is defensive and not directed against other countries” and that it “meets the goals of maintaining peace and stability in the region.”
In May 2019, the two countries signed a seven-year military cooperation deal that gave Russian Navy access to Sudanese ports. Sudan’s Armed Forces are said to be 60% equipped with military hardware supplied by either the Soviet Union or Russia.
Germany’s Bild newspaper wrote in August citing a leaked secret German Foreign Ministry document that the Russians are building military bases in six African countries - Sudan, Central African Republic, Egypt, Eritrea, Madagascar and Mozambique.
Russia has emerged as the biggest supplier of weapons to Africa and accounts for half of the region’s arms market pie. Between 2015 to 2019, Africa has imported 49% of its military equipment from Russia, which is nearly twice the volume of that purchased from its next two suppliers- the United States (14%) and China (13%).