The expansion of the Navy base in Syrian city of Tartus will require 3.2 billion rubles or $55 million annually, said the chairman of the Main Directorate for International Military Cooperation of the Defense Ministry Alexander Zinchenko, RIA Novosti reports. He outlined the required expenses at a meeting of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, where the question of ratifying the agreement with Damascus to expand this base was being considered.
As a result of the discussion, the head of the committee, Konstantin Kosachev, said that the committee supports the ratification of the agreement. "The expenses totaling 3.2 billion rubles annually are stipulated in the budget," the agency quotes the representative of the Defense Ministry as saying.
Earlier on Monday, December 25, the ratification of the agreement with Syria was supported by the Federation Council Committee on Defense. The State Duma approved the agreement on December 21st. According to the RBC news agency, the costs of expanding the base will be covered from the budget allocated to the needs of the Defense Ministry.
The Tartus base was established in 1971 as a logistics center for the Soviet fleet in the Mediterranean, servicing the ships of the 5th operational squadron. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the squadron was gone, but the logistics center in Tartus remained. It is the only foreign base of the Russian fleet.
The logistics center was used during the Russian military operation to combat terrorism in Syria. In late January 2017, Moscow and Damascus signed an agreement on the deployment of the Navy in Tartus, it will remain in effect for 49 years with a further automatic extension every 25 years. Viktor Ozerov, head of the Federation Council Committee on Defense, discussed Russia's modernization of this base in March.
As explained to RBC by military expert and reserve Colonel, Andrey Payusov, the base in Tartus is not capable of accepting submarines, heavy cruisers, and aircraft carriers.