(photo credit: AP [file])
Venezuela has received its first two of 24 Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia, a key component of a hefty arms build up by President Hugo Chavez's government.
The first two SU-30 jets landed at the Luis Del Valle Garcia naval base in Barcelona, some 230 kilometers east of Caracas, late Thursday, the air force press office said.
Russia has become the largest weapons supplier to Venezuela with recent deals to sell 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 24 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and 53 Russian helicopters.
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Chavez, who accused the US government of plans to invade his oil-rich country, has signed military deals with Moscow worth some US$3 billion (â‚¬2.27 billion).
The US government has voiced concern that the sales would upset the military balance in the region but denies allegations that it plans to invade or unseat Chavez.
Chavez, who faces re-election Sunday, said that he does not plan any immediate additional arms purchases.
"I think that for now what we have negotiated is sufficient for this stage," he said Thursday.
Russia is also helping train Venezuelan air force pilots to fly the aircraft.