Venezuela, Russia to start naval exercises Monday

Three days of joint naval exercises with Russia will kick off in Venezuelan waters on Monday, Venezuela's state news agency reported. The state-run Bolivarian News Agency said the operation involving 11 Venezuelan and four Russian ships has been christened Venrus 2008. Saturday's report said exercises will include anti-aircraft defense and tactics to combat terrorism and drug trafficking. Some will involve helicopters and planes. The Russian squadron arrived in Venezuela on Tuesday, led by the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great - the first deployment of its kind since the Cold War.