Russian strategic bombers land in Venezuela

September 11th, 2008 - 3:57 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Sep 11 (RIA Novosti) Two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers have landed at a military airfield in Venezuela, Russia’s defence ministry said Wednesday. The Tu-160 Blackjack is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber, designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep inside enemy territory.

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

The planes landed at Venezuela’s Libertador airfield and during the flight to the South American country were accompanied by NATO fighters.

“The flight itinerary extended over neutral waters in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. The Russian bombers were accompanied by NATO fighters,” the statement said.

Russia earlier announced it would send a naval task force from the Northern Fleet in the Atlantic Ocean to participate in joint exercises with the Venezuelan navy.

Earlier on Sep 1, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said: “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.”

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