In one of the largest Russian military deployments to the region since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Moscow has sent supersonic bombers to one of Venezuela’s islands in the Caribbean Sea.
Russian military Col. Eduard Rodyukov said the move by President Vladimir Putin was in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to scrap nuclear treaties.
The Tu-160 bombers – nicknamed White Swans – can fly over 7,500 miles without refueling and are capable of carrying short-range nuclear missiles.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted the move on Twitter: “Russia’s government has sent bombers halfway around the world to Venezuela. The Russian and Venezuelan people should see this for what it is: two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer.”
Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro, looking for hard cash during an economic and humanitarian crisis in his country, accepted Moscow’s proposal to use the Caribbean island, according to Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
Russian military analyst Col. Shamil Gareyev said establishing a long-term presence in Venezuela was an economically sensible decision if more joint exercises are to take place.
“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,” Gareyev said.
Full article: Russia sending nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuelan island (World Tribune)