Russia Offers Venezuela’s Chavez $1 Billion For Arms
Russia offered Venezuela $1 billion in credit to buy weapons as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visits to develop military ties amid worsening relations between both nations and the U.S.
Russia agreed to “issue a $1 billion credit line to Venezuela for the realization of military-technical cooperation programs,” the Kremlin said in an e-mailed statement, using a term that Russian authorities employ to describe defense sales.
Chavez, in Russia for the second time in two months, will meet Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at his residence outside Moscow later today before flying to Orenburg, near the Kazakh border in southern Russia, to observe military maneuvers and hold talks with President Dmitry Medvedev tomorrow.
His visit comes as Russian warships sail to the Caribbean Sea for joint exercises with the Venezuelan navy, and shortly after two Russian Tupolev-160 strategic bombers returned to Russia from a brief training visit to the South American nation. Russian relations with the U.S. have soured over Russia’s war with U.S. ally Georgia last month. Venezuela is leading a drive to push back historic U.S. influence in Latin America.
Venezuela spent $4.4 billion on 12 contracts for Russian weapons from 2005-2007, the Kremlin said. These include deals to buy 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 50 military helicopters and 24 Su- 30 jet fighters, according to a U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report.