Venezuela has welcomed the arrival of Russian Black Jack strategic bombers as an opportunity to demonstrate its resolve to defend the oil- and mineral rich nation against possible foreign military intervention.
The Tu-160 bomber, which they had just flown over the Atlantic Ocean to reach the Caribbean shores in order to take part in “combined operational flights” with the Venezuelan Air Force.
After a 10.000 km non-stop flight, two Tu-160 strategic bombers made a gracious landing at Simón Bolívar International Airport on Monday where they were greeted by the honor guard of the Venezuelan air force.
Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said after the two bombers, together with An-124 transport and an Il-62 plane, landed in Venezuela.
Russia announced that Venezuela will allow Moscow to establish a military base on the island of La Orchila, just 311 km east of Curaçao.
While the Russian delegation painted their arrival to be a rare friendly visit, the Venezuelan Defense Ministry noted that ‘Russia-Venezuela 2018’ operational flights will represent a “demonstration of strength.”
The training, Caracas maintains will foster military-technical cooperation and facilitate the exchange of practical experience between the two countries. Venezuela also operates Russian Su-30 fighter jets to fence off foreign intervention of its airspace.
The Tu-160, nicknamed the ‘White Swan’ in Russia and designated as ‘Blackjack’ by NATO, is the largest supersonic combat aircraft in the world.
The long-range aircraft, capable of carrying nuclear and conventional missiles, can cover a distance of more than 12,000 kilometers without refueling. The Russian Air Force conducted similar non-stop flights to Venezuela in 2008 and 2013.
Turkey has now signed a deal with Venezuela to extract gold and diamonds, while Iran has promised to support the oil-rich Latin American country with military defensive troops.
RT.com / ABC Flash Point NATO News 2018.