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Russia Considers Deploying Military Aircraft in Venezuela Long Term, Media Reports

Marina Lystseva / TASS

Russia is reviewing plans to deploy strategic bombers full time in Venezuela, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper reported Wednesday, citing anonymous military sources. 

Two Russian TU-160 strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons landed in Venezuela on Monday in what was seen a symbolic show of support for the government there, sparking condemnation from U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo. Last week, Moscow and Caracas reportedly signed investment contracts worth billions of dollars during Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s three-day visit to Russia.

Sources cited by Nezavisimaya Gazeta said that Moscow and Caracas had agreed on the deployment of Russian military aircraft at a Venezuelan military base on the island of Orchilla in the Caribbean Sea, to which Russia has dispatched advisers this week.

While the Venezuelan constitution prohibits the country from hosting a permanent foreign military base, sources cited by the newspaper said that the country was open to temporarily hosting Russian planes. 

Last week, President Maduro called Russia a “brother country” with which Venezuela had “raised the flag for the creation of a multipolar and multicentric world,” while Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that he hoped military cooperation between the two countries would continue.

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