May 19, 2006

Venezuela wants to buy Russian jets

Venezuelan ambassador to Russia Alexis Navarro said Caracas expects to negotiate the purchase from Russia of new warplanes, a Russian news agency reported Friday, as quoted by AP.

The information came a few days after the United States a ban on US weapons sales to Venezuela.

Navarro said President Hugo Chávez wanted to visit Russia in August-September this year, Interfax informed.

"We are waiting for a Russian reply," Navarro said.

Some Venezuelan pilots have already tested military aircraft Su-27 and Su-30, Navarro claimed.

"They liked the jets a lot... Now we are waiting for negotiations to begin," he added.

If the deal were achieved, it would become the latest step in a series of Venezuelan purchases of Russian weapons. Caracas has bought 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles -despite Washington objections-, and on April a commander of the Venezuelan Army said they planned to buy around three dozens of military helicopters.On Monday, Washington prohibited the sales of US military goods and services to Venezuela, which further deteriorated their tense relations.

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