Russian Bombers Land In Venezuela

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A Russian Tu-160 bomber

The bombers are in Venezuela as part of a joint manoeuvre that appears to be a tit-for-tat response to the US delivery of aid to Georgia, which fought a five-day war with Russia last month.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez welcomed the arrival of the bombers, telling a live television audience: “The Yankee hegemony is finished.”

Russian news agencies said the two Tu-160 strategic long-range bombers carried no nuclear bombs, after an earlier refusal to comment on whether the craft were armed.


Russia and Venezuela have already announced that they will hold joint naval war exercises in November.

Analysts said the planes’ arrival would further sour US-Russian relations in an already fraught climate.

Moscow-based military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said: “This is a redux of Cold War games, and a dangerous thing to do.

“It will only strengthen the hand of those in the United States who want to punish Russia for its action in Georgia.”

Alexander Konovalov, head of the Moscow-based Institute for Strategic Assessment, added to criticism that the deployment would lead to further deterioration in US-Russia relations.

“It’s a demonstration of Russia’s ability to do things nasty: you send warships to the Black Sea and we send bombers next to your door,” he said.

“It will have a negative impact on global stability.”

Hugo Chavez

President Chavez, who survived a failed 2002 coup that he blames on Washington, repeated accusations of US-backed attempts to kill him.

Commenting on the recent deployment, the socialist leader dismissed comparisons to the Cold War, but said he had hopes of flying one of the Russian planes.

Addressing close friend and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Mr Chavez said: “I’m going to fly a Tu-160. Fidel, I’m going to fly low past you there.”

Venezuela remains a leading oil supplier to the United States, but as tensions with Washington have grown, Mr Chavez’s government has spent billions of dollars on Russian weapons including helicopters, Kalashnikov rifles and Sukhoi fighter jets.

The country will also buy 24 Chinese-made K-8 flight training and light attack aircraft, reports suggest.

Source:http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Russian-Bombers-Land-In-Venezuela-President-Hugo-Chavez/Article/200809215097498?f=rss

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