Russian antiaircraft missiles arrive in Venezuela

    Soldiers in Macedonia shoot Russian Igla-S antiaircraft missiles during training in Krivolak. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

Soldiers in Macedonia shoot Russian Igla-S antiaircraft missiles during training in Krivolak. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

Wednesday, Dec. 9

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez revealed that thousands of Igla-S antiaircraft missiles purchased from Russia “have begun to arrive” as part of a program to modernize the National Bolivarian Armed Forces, which has stirred up distrust amongst neighboring countries over the possibility of an arms race.

In reference to the missiles manufactured by Rosoboronexport, Chávez said, “We have them here now. Few countries have as many as we do,” in statements to EFE on Dec. 7 during an event at Miraflores Palace, the seat of government in Caracas.

The portable Igla-S antiaircraft systems, together with 100,000 Kalashnikov AK-103 rifles, 24 Sukhoi-30 fighter-bombers and 53 MI-17, M-26 and M-35 helicopters comprise some of the purchases made by Venezuela from the Russian arms industry since 2006, reported RIA Novosti, and are worth approximately US$4.4 billion.

“And the tanks are on their way, the T-72s to strengthen our armored units,” added Chávez according to La Nación, in reference to the 92 units acquired this year with additional funding of US$2.2 million awarded by Russian President Dmitri Medvédev’s government.

In a fresh reference to the cooperative agreement signed by Colombia and the United States in October to fight narcoterrorism, Chávez reiterated, “The best way to avoid a war is to prepare for it,” and added that the Colombian decision is the reason behind Venezuela’s military upgrade.

Furthermore, the Venezuelan president maintained that he turned to Russia as a supplier after the United States “refused” to supply replacements for arms that Venezuela had previously purchased to equip its troops.

The United States suspended the sale of arms and military equipment to Venezuela in May 2006, recalled EFE, after deeming that Chávez was not cooperating fully in the fight against terrorism.

Separately, El Universal reported that Russian engineers and Venezuelan construction companies have begun to build the factories where AK-103 rifles and their ammunition will be built. The Russian ambassador in Caracas, Vladmir Zaemskiy, was unable to provide an approximation as to when the assembly lines will begin operations, but did reveal that they will employ 1,500 workers.

“Russia is working closely with the Venezuelan authorities on the transfer of advanced technology to create the rifle production lines,” Zaemskiy told AP.

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  • jose guerrero | 2009-12-19

    As a free country we have every right to modernize our armed forces, because we cannot continue to be a country vetoed by the USA the way the governments of AD and COPEI had us ten years ago, letting themselves be driven any way the United States pleased, times have changed to leave that obsolete technology behind and move forward with new technologies in every aspect, military, surgical, agricultural, scientific, among others. Developed countries like the US do not want countries like Venezuela to continue to develop, because before they were ravaging all of our most valuable minerals they put into technology in their country and then sold to us at very high prices in dollars. That is why we are modernizing our nation, not just in terms of the military, but in everything that has to do with a country developing as our beautiful Venezuela is. We are modernizing moderately and that is what the whole world is seeing, this is not being hidden, Venezuela's doors are open for the world to look at us that we are preparing ourselves for a better life on this planet, not for war, nor for aggression against other nations, as the developed countries do who every day are destroying the most beautiful spaceship in orbit in the planetary system of our universe.

  • alfonso azócar magüida | 2009-12-17

    if anyone had any doubts about how dangerous Mr. Hugo Chavez is. He/She has the answer given by the man himself. Who is Mr. Chavez arming himself against? Against the South American democracies and against anyone who is against the continental dictatorship he wants to implant, along with his friends in Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba and Nicaragua.

  • Dhemo | 2009-12-16

    \'Farc trained civilians on a Venezuelan military site\' says the Truth Commission of Ecuador, and since paraguay it is rearming to take the southern cone.

  • jose laguna | 2009-12-16

    all the countries in the world must be armed to protect their sovereignty it is not possible that the only ones with the right to have arms are the powerful ones who criticizes them who stops them look at how they have attacked so many peoples in the world ending the lives of so many children old people civilians in general it would seem that these men don't believe in god god does not punish them but they scare us with god why attack hiroshima AND nagasaki with atomic bombs? why invade irak panama dominican republic the malvinas haiti el salvador chile in the death of allende why christ why bolivar why the che why have all the men who have fought for freedom been liquidated the world is not theirs enough already the lugs don't reason and are socialist we do reason they exterminate us to amass so much fortune these powers but what the world is is hungry and wants to satisfy it any way possible and I will say it to everyone we are no one and since we are hurting it the plant is dying and no one does anything the resources of the peoples are all that matter and to get them it's necessary to destroy the population\"read the protocols of the wise men of zion\" it's all programmed there to take over the wealth of the world if it is necessary to kill they will kill that is why this was written in a zionist conference in basel at the end of 1887 and on

  • José Armando Ardila | 2009-12-15

    Today I was talking to a Colombo Venezuelan who came to Colombia to change the panorama of his life, and he told me, or better yet he advised me that the Venezuelan government would be dissolved by the same army it has leaned on because the people will end up taking to the streets to demand it since [the people] are going through many difficulties