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Russia, Venezuela to hold joint military exercises in 2009

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BUENOS AIRES (BNS): Russia and Venezuela will carry out a joint military exercise next year.

Ria Novosti quoting Venezuelan air force chief Luis Acosta said a Joint Russian-Venezuelan air force drills have been planned for next year.

“We could have participated in joint naval exercises due in November if they included a simulated air attack, but this has not been included in the plans so far,” Acosta said.

A naval squadron and anti-submarine patrol planes would be send to Venezuela for the joint air force manoeuvre in the Caribbean.

Two Russian strategic bombers have carried out patrols along the coast of South America during a visit to Venezuela. A naval task force led by the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy was also heading there for joint exercises in the Caribbean in November.

In mid-August, media reports quoted US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as saying that the Bush administration was unhappy with flights by Russian strategic bombers near the US borders and accused Moscow of playing a dangerous game.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, however, denied the media reports that military cooperation between Russia and Venezuela was aimed against the United States.

"I do not know how such conclusions are drawn. Neither Russia nor Venezuela have any plans to attack anyone. Russia and Venezuela enjoy cooperation basing on the norms of international law," he said.

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