Albania offers Soviet-built naval base to Nato ‘in these perilous times’

Albania has asked NATO to use a Soviet naval base “in these perilous times”, the country has claimed.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said the Pashaliman naval base, 180 kilometers (110 miles) south of the capital Tirana, could bring “added value” to the alliance and that they had prepared a project to renovate it. .

“In these perilous times, I believe the general might consider having a NATO naval base in Albania,” Rama said in a statement Wednesday.

Albania, which became a member of NATO in 2009, joined the United States and the European Union in denouncing Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The Pashaliman base under Vlora Bay was built in the 1950s when the Soviet Union brought in 12 submarines, making it the only naval base they had in the Mediterranean.

After the collapse of the Tirana-Moscow relationship in 1961, Pashaliman remained a naval base sheltering the remaining four submarines and other small military vessels.

The base was looted, including material from the submarines, during the anarchy year of 1997 in Albania when Europe’s poorest population at the time lost its savings in failed pyramid schemes. lose.

Three of the submarines have been sold for scrap while the fourth remains, and the government is considering whether to turn it into a museum.

Pashaliman was renovated by Turkey and has since been used as a naval base for a number of military ships patrolling the Ionian and Adriatic Seas.

Nato has also begun work on upgrading Albania’s communist-era Kucove Air Base, 85 km (53 mi) south of the capital Tirana, allowing it to be used for coalition operations.

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