Russia Offers Venezuela’s Chavez Weapons, Nuclear Cooperation

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

Moscow — Russia offered visiting President Chavez of Venezuela $1 billion in credit to buy weapons and nuclear cooperation amid worsening relations between both nations and America.

“We are ready to implement all our accords in the military sphere,” Prime Minister Putin of Russia said as he met Mr. Chavez at his residence outside Moscow late yesterday. He told him that Russia was also ready to consider cooperation with Venezuela in atomic power in addition to high-technology and energy.

Mr. Chavez, in Russia for the second time in two months, announced before the talks that OAO Gazprom, OAO Lukoil and TNK- BP, three of Russia’s biggest energy companies, may join with Petroleos de Venezuela SA to work on projects around the world.


His visit comes as Russian warships sail to the Caribbean Sea for joint exercises with the Venezuelan navy, and shortly after two Russian Tupolev-160 strategic bombers returned to Russia from a brief training visit to the South American nation. Russian relations with America have soured over Russia’s war with American ally Georgia last month. Venezuela is leading a drive to push back historic American influence in Latin America.

Mr. Chavez will travel from Moscow to Orenburg, near the Kazakh border in southern Russia, to hold talks with President Medvedev Friday.

Russia has been stepping up efforts to court anti-American allies in Latin America since the conflict with neighboring Georgia, sending high-level delegations to Cuba, Nicaragua, and oil-rich Venezuela.


Mr. Chavez said that Russia has a role to play in defending “freedom in Latin America.” Mr. Putin replied that the region is “of course very important in a multipolar world and we are moving more and more toward this vector.”

Ahead of the Venezuelan leader’s arrival, the Kremlin announced that Russia had agreed to issue a $1 billion credit line to Venezuela for “the realization of military-technical cooperation programs,” using a term that Russian authorities employ to describe defense sales.

Venezuela spent $4.4 billion on 12 contracts for Russian weapons from 2005-07, the Kremlin said. These include deals to buy 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 50 military helicopters, and 24 Su-30 jet fighters, according to an American Defense Intelligence Agency report.


Russia is now in talks to sell air defense systems, armored personnel carriers, and new-generation Su-35 fighter jets due to start production in 2010, the Kommersant newspaper reported on September 18, citing state industrial holding company Russian Technologies chief Sergei Chemezov.

Venezuela’s insistence on getting credit toward buying these weapons, as well as Russian diesel submarines that it is seeking, had been holding up the negotiations, Kommersant said.

Venezuela’s defense budget has more than tripled since 2000 to $3.3 billion in 2008, according to the National Budget Office.

The New York Sun

© 2023 The New York Sun Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The material on this site is protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used.

The New York Sun

Sign in or  Create a free account

By continuing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use