Russia has started to upgrade the Russian naval base in Syrian Tartus, announced Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defense committee in the Federation Council, as reported by Interfax.
“As far as Tartus is concerned, I won’t conceal the fact that even during our visit (of Russian senators in Syria in October 2016) I was shown a development plan for the port where facilities and docks would be built. This work has already been prepared, and today it is being put into action,” he said.
When asked more specifically whether this means that an upgrade of the base has begun, the senator responded: “Yes, of course. Despite the fact that the agreement regarding Tartus has not yet been introduced in the State Duma, its text came into force the moment it was signed,” Ozerov noted.
On December 23 last year Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered that an agreement be signed between Russia and Syria regarding the expansion of the territory of the Russian navy’s logistic support point in the Tartus port region, the development and upgrading of its infrastructure, and the movement of Russian military vessels in the territorial waters, inland waters and ports of the Syria. In addition to regulating these matters, the provisions of the agreement define the status of the personnel of the naval base, personnel family members, and also the competent authorities of the Russian side.
Ozerov believes that the agreement regarding the Russian naval base in Tartus will be ratified during the current spring session of Russian parliament. “From my point of view, yes,” he said to Interfax, when asked whether the agreement would be ratified in the spring session.
According to him, the document will be ratified, because this will be a “higher level of consolidation of existing agreements”.