MOSCOW, Russia – Russia has condemned British plans to open military bases in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean on Friday, saying it stands ready to take retaliatory action if its own or its allies’ interests are threatened.
British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper last month that London is working on plans to build two new foreign bases “in the next two years” after the country leaves the European Union.
Williamson did not specify where the bases could 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 as disconcerting on Friday and warned that such plans could destabilize world affairs.
“It is clear that Britain, like any other country, is independent when it comes to its military construction plans. But against the backdrop of growing military and political tensions in the world … statements about the desire to increase its military presence in third countries are counterproductive, destabilizing and possibly provocative in nature,” she said.
“In the case of any measures that pose a threat to the security of Russia or its allies, our country reserves the right to take appropriate retaliatory measures,” he added.
Russia has military bases in several countries of the former Soviet Union and operates military installations in Syria and Vietnam.
According to the British official, the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU will allow the country to occupy again key positions in the international arena.
At the same time, the politician noted that the United Kingdom will abandon the strategy “East of Suez”, adopted in 1968, because the country had to withdraw its contingent of military bases in Malaysia, Singapore, Persian Gulf and Maldives.
Earlier, Gavin Williamson also announced that the country will open in Oman a new giant training base after leaving the European Union to increase British influence in the region. Hundreds of UK soldiers will be stationed at the new permanent base from March 2019, the month in which the UK leaves the EU.