Russia may build a military base in Somaliland, a self-proclaimed state within the Federal Republic of Somalia, according to local media.
On April 2, Somaliland Informer claimed that Russia seeks a permission to construct “a small naval and air facility, housing no more than 1,500 personnel outside the city of Zeila.” The naval facility should serve two destroyer sized ships, four frigate class ships, and two large submarine pens. The air facility will include two airstrips and will be able to host up to “six heavy aircraft and fifteen fighter jets as well as space for fuel, ammunition, and base defenses.”
In return, Moscow is allegedly promising to assist Somaliland in the international recognition and “is willing to send more military advisors, both tactical and strategic, to assist the emerging Somaliland military.”
According to another Somaliland media outlet, Qaran News, Russia is interested in investing 250 million USD in Somaliland natural in gas and petroleum extraction and transport in exchange for 35% of total profits.
In 2017 and early 2018, reports circulated about possible Russian military facilities in Libya, Sudan and Egypt. However, all these speculation have remained unconfirmed.
Such reports can be described as a signal of the growing Russian influence in the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. More and more local players may seek to get support from Moscow in exchange for providing it with more opportunities to project own military power in the region.