Only 3 days after two Russian TU-160 long-range bombers left Venezuela, after Russia declared they were not being “transferred” to Venezuela, Russia announced the creation of a Russian airbase in – Venezuela.
Russia is sending the US a message after decades of complaining of US and NATO bases next to Russia, encroaching on them.
Now Russia has a strategic presence in the Western hemisphere. Truthfully, I am surprised it is not in Cuba. Only Cuba knows, for sure, why it did not happen. Perhaps Russia did not learn the saying of not relieving oneself where you eat by abusing the Cubans?
- Russia’s TASS news agency reported the base would be in La Orchila, Venezuela
- The island of La Orchila is situated 125 miles northeast of the capital of Caracas
- After striking a deal with President Nicolas Maduro military jets will land there
- It will be Russia’s largest Caribbean deployment since the Cuban Missile Crisis
Russia has announced plans to set up its first ever military base in the Caribbean after striking a deal with cash-strapped Venezuela.
The state-sponsored TASS news agency reported that Russian experts had selected the island of La Orchila, 125 miles northeast of Caracas, as a possible military base up to 10 years ago.
According to the agency, Russia will now be ‘deploying Tu-160 strategic aircraft to the island’, after seeking permission from Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro.
The deployment will represent the one of the largest semi-permanent postings of Russian military hardware to the region since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 – which marked the height of the Cold War.
A Russian Tu-160 heavy strategic bomber is seen after landing in Maiquetia, Venezuela last Monday as part of an exercise in the Caribbean
Venezuelan law reportedly prohibits a full-time military base from being set up within its borders.
However, the deployment of supersonic Russian jets would be ‘temporary’ – according to official sources.
‘It is the right idea to include Venezuela in long-range aviation missions,’ military expert Colonel Shamil Gareyev told the Russian newspaper Novaya Gozeta.
‘Our strategic bombers will not only not have to return to Russia every time, but also won’t perform aerial refueling while on a patrol mission in the Americas.
‘Our Tu-160 aircraft arrive to their base in Venezuela, conduct flights, execute their missions and are then replaced on a rotating basis. This is how it should be done.’
The news comes just days after two of Russia’s nuclear-capable Tu-160 strategic bombers flew over the Caribbean sea during a 10-hour training mission with the Venezuelan Air Force amid escalating tensions between Moscow and Washington.
Russia reportedly struck a deal with socialist President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro (left) to use the island of La Orchila, 125 miles northeast of Caracas
The flight of the jets was recorded on video, which Russia’s Ministry of Defense then proudly shared on YouTube.
The planes, known in Russia as ‘White Swans’, arrived at Maiquetia airport outside Caracas last Monday after completing a 6,200-mile journey.
The Russian bombers’ deployment has infuriated Washington, where US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo characterized the joint training session as ‘two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer.’
The Kremlin on Tuesday rejected Pompeo’s criticism, saying it was ‘highly undiplomatic’ and ‘completely inappropriate.’
‘As for the idea that we are squandering money, we do not agree. It’s not really appropriate for a country half of whose defense budget could feed the whole of Africa to be making such statements,’ spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
One of Russia’s nuclear-capable Tu-160 fighter jets is pictured during an exercise with Venezuelan Air Force on Wednesday last week