The Minister of Defense of the Central African Republic (Central African Republic) Marie Noelle Koyara expressed the opinion that in the near future a Russian military base could be formed on the territory of this state. Today, Russia is the only state that supplies weapons and conducts training and counseling to local military personnel.
Increased cooperation between states can lead to the creation of a Russian bridgehead in Africa. But it can also serve as a basis for complicating relations with the European Union, which fears Russia's presence in the CAR.
About the details of the formation of the base of the conversation has not yet been. But this possibility is not excluded. If the leaders of countries that are also commanders-in-chief decide to create a Russian military base, then it will be implemented.
Regarding the CARs, there is an international arms embargo. But in December 2017, the UN issued, by way of exception, permission to the Russian Federation to deliver a certain amount of small arms. At the same time, military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation were sent to the Central African Republic, who were to teach African soldiers how to deal with the delivered weapons.
In early 2018, an Il-76 military transport aircraft delivered the first batch to the CARs. It included Makarov pistols, as well as automatic and sniper weapons. At the same time, 5 advisers and 170 instructors were sent to this country to train Central Asian troops.
The partnership of the two states received an additional impetus in August 2018. During the forum "Army - 2018" an agreement on cooperation in the military sphere was concluded between the states. It implies that even more instructors will be sent to the CARs. In addition, the military from the African Republic received the opportunity to study in military schools of the Russian Federation.
After signing the documents at the residence, the owner of which at one time was the infamous dictator Jean Bokassa, a training center was opened, where Russian military instructors work. Minister Koyara believes that the center opened in Bereng cannot be called a military base. But the local population perceives it as a base. It came to the point that the Islamist rebels from the Séléka group began to make demands to remove "Russian mercenaries" from the territory of the country.
The ultimatum put forward by the militants was left without response and consequences. Meanwhile, Russia expressed readiness to assist a political settlement in this African country. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov noted that Russia is already taking an active part in the implementation of the negotiation process between the parties to the conflict. In addition, he allowed an increase in the number of military instructors in the Central Asian region.
Franz Klintsevich, a member of the Defense Committee of the Russian Federation for Defense, commented on M. Bogdanov’s words in this way: individual states are striving to establish military cooperation with the Russian Federation, since they understand that only the Russian Federation can ensure their security. That is, there is a tendency that many countries are ready to create Russian military bases on their territory.
Ruslan Pukhov, an expert of the Russian Council on International Affairs, explained the Central Asian interest in close cooperation with the Russian Federation by the fact that Russian weapons are highly efficient, as well as the success achieved by the Russian Armed Forces during the antiterrorist operation in Syria.
According to the expert, the authorities of the Central African Republic regard the Russian Federation as a country that is able to provide serious assistance after the French came out.
The presence of Russia in the CAR can become a bridgehead of the Russian Federation on the African continent and a kind of trump card in its relations with France. But we must not forget about the economic component of the issue. This African Republic has large reserves of useful resources, and if conflicts in the country between the parties to the conflict and political stability are established in the country, these reserves will be the subject of numerous contracts.
According to Igor Korotchenko, the chief editor of the National Defense publication, there is no special sense in deploying a military base of the RF Armed Forces on the territory of the Central African Republic, in order to maintain internal stability in the state, the contingent already deployed there is sufficient.
The creation of a military base there could provoke complications for Moscow and the EU countries, which express concern about the strengthening of the Russian military in this African region.
In October 2018, the EU countries reached an agreement on expanding support for the CARs on security and defense issues.
According to The Wall Street Journal, diplomats asked the EU foreign policy service to develop a plan of consultation and assistance to the internal security forces of the CARs.
European politicians believe that for the Russian side, the CARs are perceived primarily as a mineral-rich state and fulcrum for increasing influence throughout Africa.