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Russia has no plans to set up naval base in Fiji — defense official

February 16, 9:08 UTC+3 SYDNEY
Russia has handed over a batch of small arms and munitions for Fiji’s peacekeepers
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Soldiers in Fiji

Soldiers in Fiji

© AP Photo/Rick Rycroft/archive

SYDNEY, February 16. /TASS/. Moscow is not planning to establish a naval base in Fiji, an island country located in the South Pacific Ocean, a Russian Defense Ministry official, Lt. Gen. Nikolai Parshin said on Tuesday.

Parshin, who heads the ministry’s Main Missile and Artillery Directorate (GRAU), took part in a ceremony in the republic’s capital Suva on Tuesday to hand over a batch of Russian small arms and munitions for Fiji’s peacekeepers.

The official dismissed recent media reports that Russia’s seeks to expand military presence in the Asia-Pacific region and Moscow’s s next step could be searching for a submarine fleet support base in the southern Pacific Ocean.

"We do not comment on idle speculation. However, we note that this is not the first time we hear ‘horror stories’ about the creation by Russia’s Defense Ministry of "an entire network of naval bases" around the world. Where analysts and experts get this information - it is hard to imagine, and they do not disclose their sources," Parshin said.

He said over the past years the activity of Russia’s Defense Ministry has become more open and it is more difficult now to uncover sensations. "But some experts continue doing this showing a special skill of daydreaming."

"There are no plans of setting up a naval base in Fiji," the general said, adding that "any cooperation of Russia’s Defense Ministry with military agencies of other states has no goal of interfering into their domestic affairs and is not directed against third countries."

Russia’s Defense Ministry has supplied weapons to Fiji at the official request from the country’s leadership. The weapons will be used by Fiji’s mechanized infantry battalion, part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) based in the Golan Heights, Parshin said.

A group of Russian military instructors are currently staying in Suva to train Fiji’s troops to use the new weapons.

The weapons were supplied to the island country free of charge, the general said. The procedure, which is the result a "meticulous work," was accompanied by the signing of a package of legal documents.

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