Russia ‘may sell $5 billion of weapons to Venezuela’

Telegraph [UK]
5 April 2010

The Russian prime minister met Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas on Friday to discuss oil, defence and nuclear energy cooperation, although no new no arms agreements were signed.

The United States expressed concern about possible arms proliferation following such a deal with Venezuela.

Mr Chavez says his growing arsenal is aimed at countering a planned increase in the US military forces in neighbouring Colombia, Washington’s closest ally in Latin America.

“Our delegation has just returned from Venezuela and the overall volume of orders could exceed $5 billion, [£3.27 billion]” Mr Putin said, according to Russian news agencies.

Putin said the figure included $2.2 billion (£1.44billion) in credit lines for Russian arms received by Chavez during his eighth visit to Moscow in September, including T-72 tanks and the S-300 advanced anti-aircraft missile system, RIA news agency reported.

The reports did not give any further details.

In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said: “We’re hard pressed to see what legitimate defence needs Venezuela has for this equipment.”

“If Venezuela is going to increase its military hardware, we certainly don’t want to see this hardware migrate to other parts of the hemisphere.”

Comments are closed.