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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Venezuela Plans to Buy Anti-Missile Systems from Russia

MosNews: The government of Venezuela plans to buy anti-missile systems from Russia, local media reported quoting the country’s Defense Minister Raul Baduel. The cost of the deal to acquire Tor-M1 rockets is estimated at $290 million.

Tor M1 is the only system in the world, which is capable of detecting and tracking up to 48 targets and engaging two of them simultaneously.

Venezuela’s military authorities plan to use this system in combination with Chinese radars and 24 military aircraft that this South American country will buy from Russia. MosNews has reported last July that Moscow and Caracas reached an agreement for delivery of Russian Su-30MK2 fighter jets. Earlier Russia has supplied Venezuela with 100,000 of Kalashnikov rifles and even agreed to sell the license for their production.

The U.S. is unhappy about Russian sales of modern military equipment to Venezuela. The White House has already slapped military embargo on Venezuela, because it greatly dislikes the country’s populist leader Huga Chavez. Chavez is convinced that the U.S. plans to invade Venezuela to acquire control over oil production in the country.

Venezuela’s decision to acquire Tor-M1 anti-missile systems comes soon after completion of a similar deal, in which Russia sold Tor-M1 to Iran. The total sum of the contract equaled $1.4 billion, it is the largest military deal to date between Russia and Iran. The sale of anti-missile systems to Iran has prompted strong criticism from the United States.
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