MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has decided to establish naval bases in Libya, Syria and Yemen within a few years, a Russian military official was quoted as saying on Friday by Itar-Tass news agency.

"It is difficult to say how much time it will take to create the bases for our fleet in these countries, but within a few years this will be done without question," the official was quoted as saying.

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"The political decision on this question has been taken," the official said. A spokesman for the Russian navy could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Kremlin is seeking to play a more assertive role in world politics and has been using its military to project its new-found confidence beyond its borders.

Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers regularly fly around the globe on patrols, and warships traverse the oceans in another show of force by Moscow.

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Analysts have said that the Syrian port of Tartus could be revived as a Russian naval base. During the Cold War, the Soviet navy had a permanent presence in the Mediterranean, using Tartus as a supply point.

Russian media reported that opening a naval base in the Libyan port of Benghazi was among the main issues discussed during Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's visit to Moscow in October last year.