Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cold War 2.0: Hugo Chavez Offers Russians Island To Be Used For Strategic Bombers

This is the sort of thing that happens after our President surrenders.

From Novosti, a Russian news and information agency:
MOSCOW, March 14 (RIA Novosti) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has proposed to Russia using a Venezuelan island for temporary hosting of Russian long-range aviation, a top-ranking Russian Air Force official said Saturday.

"There is such a proposal on the part of the Venezuelan president. Chavez proposed to us a whole island with an airfield that we can use for temporary basing of strategic bombers," said Maj.-Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, the chief of the long-range aviation staff.

"If there is the relevant political decision, the island ... could be used by the Russian Air Force," Zhikharev told journalists.

He said the temporary basing opportunity could be used for air patrol missions.

In September 2008 two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack multi-mission strategic bombers arrived in Venezuela after a 13-hour flight over the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. There were no nuclear weapons on board the aircraft. After that, they carried out a patrol mission over the Caribbean.

The Tu-160 Blackjack is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber, designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theaters of operation.

Bloomberg also reports:
March 14 (Bloomberg) -- Russia could land strategic bombers at Cuban and Venezuelan airfields while conducting patrols, the head of the Russian strategic air force was quoted as saying by the Interfax news service.

“With Cuba, this is possible,” the Moscow-based agency quoted Major General Anatoly Zhikharev as saying. “There are four or five airfields with 4,000-meter (13,000-feet) runways which suit us completely.”

Russia has also received an offer to temporarily station bombers in Venezuela from President Hugo Chavez, which Zhikharev called “possible,” according to state television station Vesti-24.

“If the heads of the two countries show the will, the political will, then we are prepared to fly there,” Zhikharev said, according to Interfax.

A Kremlin spokesman said that Zhikharev was speaking about the technical ability of the airstrips to receive the planes. “Most countries have runways where our bombers could land,” he said today by telephone.

While Russia had received an offer to fly to Cuba, the spokesman said he couldn’t comment on whether Russia intended to send planes to Cuba or Venezuela.
Someone tell the Russians to relax: Obama is well on his way to making us the United Socialist States of America! Back in the U.S.S.A.!

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