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Friday, December 29, 2006

Russia Delivers Five Helicopters to Venezuela: Report

Russia has delivered five military helicopters to Venezuela, the manufacturer Rostvertol said on dec. 28, the Ria-Novosti agency reported.

The delivery comprised four Mi-35M helicopters and one Mi-26T transport aircraft, Rostvertol, which is based at Rostov-on-the-Don in southern Russia, said.

Executives at the factory would not comment but a statement on the company’s web site and dated December 21 said that the helicopters were “ready to leave for Venezuela.”

The statement said that “four Mi-35M helicopters have already been delivered to Venezuela in July and one of these took part in a military parade” in Caracas.

Under an agreement between Russia and Venezuela, Russia is to deliver 10 Mi-35M helicopters and three Mi-25T helicopters, the factory said.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, during a visit to Moscow in July, signed a contract worth more than $3.5 billion (2.67 billion euros) to buy 24 Sukhoi aircraft to replace ageing F16 fighter planes acquired from the United States.

This agreement went down badly in Washington.

Russia delivered two of these aircraft at the end of November.

In 2004, Chavez signed an agreement to buy helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov AK103 assault rifles.

Venezuela is also studying the construction of a factory to make Kalashnikov rifles under license.
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