Russia to Establish a ‘Logistical Support Center’ on Sudan’s Red Sea Coast

Lieutenant General Yasser al-Atta, Assistant Commander in Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces, while speaking to Saudi media outlet al-Hadath, has confirmed that a series of economic and military agreements between his country and Russia are set to be signed in the near future. One such agreement is poised to provide for the establishment of a Russian ‘logistical support center’ on the Red Sea.

What You Need to Know:

Lieutenant General al-Atta, a member of the Sudanese Sovereign Council, a multi-member council established after the country’s 2021 coup d’état led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, claimed, “Russia proposed military cooperation through a logistical support center, not a full military base, in return for urgent weapons and ammunition supplies.”

However, in looking to expand the two countries’ relations, al-Atta noted, “we agreed to this but suggested expanding the cooperation to include economic aspects like agricultural ventures, mining partnerships, and port development. Russia agreed to this broader scope.”

In early March, Sudan’s Foreign Minister, Ali Sadiq Ali, while speaking to Russian media outlet RIA Novosti, outlined, “we have no fundamental objections to the agreements reached under the previous government. This is the obligation of the state.”

The Details:

Russia’s search for a military base host became known in late 2017, with President Putin and former President Omar al-Bashir initially agreeing on the establishment of a base that could support up to four Russian naval vessels, to be operated by at least 300 Russian personnel.

However, in April 2019, a military coup resulted in the ousting of Bashir and his allies. In August, the Transitional Sovereignty Council was established. The Council incorporated military leaders as well as members of the Forces of Freedom and Change; a coalition of rebel leaders and Sudanese civilians.

By October 2021, after a series of pro-junta and pro-civilian-rule protests rocked the nation’s capital of Khartoum and surrounding cities, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who served as the Council’s Chairman, dissolved both the government and the Transitional Council.

The Transitional Council was reinstated by al-Burhan in November of the same year, although without the members who had called for a return to civilian rule. During his interview with al-Hadath, al-Atta stated, “power today lies in financial influence, while values and ethics have become commodities. We must make bold moves to achieve our military and economic goals for the benefit of our country and people.”

So, What Now?:

Despite this, Sudan’s internal political landscape remains extremely unstable, with the Sudanese Armed forces (SAF) continuing to lose ground against the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by former Transitional Council member Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemedti’ Dagalo.

Most recently, on the 14th of April, the RSF captured North Darfur’s Mellit city, which connects North Darfur to Libya.

According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, since late 2023, the RSF has continued to make gains.

“The capture of al-Jazirah [in December 2023] stands as a defining moment in the ongoing conflict with the SAF. This event has not only led to an expansion of hostilities into new territories, particularly in the middle regions such as Sennar state, but it has also brought forth threats of RSF attacks on River Nile, Gedaref, and Port Sudan. Simultaneously, the fall of Wad Madani city has triggered ethnic mobilization across areas under SAF control, casting doubt on the SAF’s ability to protect these regions. Furthermore, this situation has the potential to prompt defections within the SAF ranks in response to their withdrawal from Wad Madani, with many Sudanese calling the SAF chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to step down.”

Wad Madani, the capital of al-Jazirah state, captured by the RSF in December 2023, lies just 120 miles from the nation’s capital of Khartoum

Sudan’s renewed interest in the establishment of a Russian base, particularly as it carries the possibility of increased arms imports as well as the introduction of much-needed economic initiatives, is likely to be hindered by continued RSF incursions.

These incursions, particularly around the capital and Port Sudan, will most likely hinder Russian attempts to establish a base using the existing infrastructure there.

Nonetheless, as per the Sudan Tribune, a military delegation from the country is set to leave for talks in Moscow in the near future. The delegation will be followed by a Ministerial delegation tasked with finalizing a comprehensive agreement in line with the wishes of Chairman of the Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.


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