Chavez: Russia jets welcome, but no Venezuela base

March 15, 2009 21:05

President Hugo Chavez says Russian bombers would be welcome in Venezuela, but the socialist leader denies that his country has offered Moscow its territory for a military base. Chavez was responding to a report by Interfax news agency on Saturday quoting the chief of staff of Russia's long-range aviation as saying that some strategic bombers could be based in Venezuela. A Kremlin official said Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev had been speaking hypothetically. Chavez said Sunday that Venezuela could temporarily host Russian bombers - just as it did in September when Russian Tu-160 bombers visited for training flights. But Chavez said there are no plans to establish a Russian military base in Venezuelan territory.

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