Russia, Venezuela to hold joint air force drills

October 31st, 2008 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Buenos Aires, Oct 31 (RIA Novosti) Venezuela and Russia are planning to conduct joint air force exercises in 2009, the Venezuelan air force chief has said. “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,” Luis Acosta was quoted as saying by Venezuela’s communication and information ministry on its website.

Two Russian strategic bombers recently carried out patrols along the coast of South America during a visit to Venezuela and a naval task force led by the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy is on its way to the country for joint exercises in the Caribbean in November.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in mid-August that the Bush administration was unhappy with flights by Russian strategic bombers near US borders and accused Moscow of playing a “dangerous game”.

However, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov subsequently denied Western media reports that military cooperation between Russia and Venezuela was aimed against the US.

“I do not know how such conclusions are drawn. Neither Russia nor Venezuela has any plans to attack anyone. Russia and Venezuela enjoy cooperation based on the norms of the international law,” Lavrov said.

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