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Russian strategic bombers land in Venezuela

MOSCOW (BNS): The Russian defence ministry has issued a statement claiming that two of its Tupolev-160 Blackjack strategic bombers have landed at a military airfield in Venezuela.

The bombers will conduct several training flights over neutral waters in the next few days and later return to their home base in Russia, the ministry said in its statement.

NATO fighters accompanied the planes, which landed at Venezuela's Libertador airfield, during their flight to the South American country, the ministry said. “The flight itinerary extended over neutral waters in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. The Russian bombers were accompanied by NATO fighters.”

Russia has already announced that a naval task force from the Northern Fleet will be deployed in the Atlantic Ocean and they will participate in joint naval drills with the Venezuelan navy in November.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had on September 1 welcomed the Russian Navy and Air Force on its territory. “If the Russian Navy arrives in the Caribbean or the Atlantic it may certainly visit Venezuela, we have no problems with that and would warmly welcome it,” Chavez was quoted by RIA Novosti. “And if Russian long-range bombers should need to land in Venezuela we would not object to that either. We will also welcome them,” he said further.

The Tu-160 Blackjack bombers that have landed in Venezuela are supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bombers, and they can attack strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theatres of operation.

The latest development is part of a series of symbolic actions from Russia in reaction to America’s aggressive posturing in the region, especially over Georgia and setting up of Ballistic Missile Defence in locations such as those in Poland.

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