Russia has revealed that it is aiming to deploy Tu-160 nuclear bombers to a military base on a Caribbean island belonging to Venezuela on a permanent basis, after the USA opened a NATO outpost in Colombia.
Venezuela’s socialist president Nicolas Maduro did not object to the proposals put forward by Russian authorities.
Vladimir Putin has decided to send the supersonic bombers, known as “White Swans”, to one of Venezuela’s islands in the Caribbean Sea.
Russia wants the strategic aircraft, which caused alarm in the USA by visiting Venezuela earlier this month, to be based by an island with a naval facility and military airfield.
Ten years ago, Russian military experts and commanders reportedly visited the island of La Orchila, located 200 km northeast of Caracas.
Under Venezuelan law, military bases can not be established by foreign nations in the country, but a temporary deployment of warplanes is possible.
Moscow angered Washington by flying two Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela, where they landed at Maiquetia airport near capital Caracas on December 10, 2018.
Their deployment came just days after Maduro, whose administration has an acrimonious relationship with Washington, held peace talks with Putin in Moscow.
Russian military expert Colonel Shamil Gareyev said establishing a long-term presence in Venezuela was an economically sensible decision if more joint exercises are to take place.
Capable of carrying short-range nuclear missiles, the Tu-160 planes can fly over 12,000 km without refueling and have landed in Venezuela twice before in the last decade.
Military cooperation with Russia is important for Venezuela at the moment “to protect the country against the potential aggression of the United States.
Daily Star UK / ABC Flash Point News 2019.