Arrival of the strategic bombers in Venezuela. Image: mil.ru
Even the participation of two strategic bombers in a military exercise worries the U.S., Russia is said to dare to permanently move military aircraft to Venezuela
When NATO planes fly in the friendly countries on the Russian border, it is only a response to the "Russian aggression". When two Russian supersonic military aircraft, albeit TU-160 strategic bombers, landed in Venezuela on Monday with two other military aircraft and 100 crew, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented thus: "The Russian leadership has sent its bombers all over the world to Venezuela. The Russian and Venezuelan people should see this for what it is: two corrupt governments plundering public funds and suppressing freedom, while their people suffer."
Pentagon spokesman followed up and explained: "While the U.S. brings aid to Central and South America, Russia sends bombers of a criminal."
The U.S. government does not like it when the rediscovered enemy from the Cold War comes too close to the U.S. and settles in the U.S. backyard. By the way, the Russian leadership did not like that either during the NATO expansion to the East. The bombers probably came as a sign of support for Maduro, with whom Vladimir Putin had met the week before in Moscow. The Venezuelan government has claimed that Russia is planning to invest $6 billion in joint ventures, mainly in the oil sector. However, the Russian government did not confirm it. However, the defense ministers have agreed that Russia’s air force and navy will continue to use Venezuelan bases. That, too, sounds rather cautious, exchanging delegations and helping with training. This could symbolize the current military rebellion.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov shot back, saying Pompeo’s tweet was unacceptable and "very undiplomatic". That taxpayer money is being wasted, he rejected: "Moreover, it is probably not very appropriate for a country to make such adjustments when half of its defense budget could feed the whole of Africa."
He is assisted by Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for Russia’s Auben Ministry, who likes to sharpen. It refers to the Pentagon’s Inspector General, who criticized that many millions of dollars were wasted in support of Afghanistan without helping the people. This is also the case in other areas: "U.S. military spending is aimed at securing U.S. hegemony in a world covered with a network of Pentagon bases. They have brought death and suffering to the people, not freedom or democracy." Iraq and Libya are examples of this. And in general, the reaction of the USA is hysterical: "Only two airplanes and the Ministry of Defense becomes hysterical. Colleagues, you should not stress so much."
Russian bombers take part in drills with the Venezuelan air force. Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said it was a matter of technical cooperation and exchange of experience. Relations in the military sphere have been strengthened: "Our goal is peace." Nobody should be afraid of these airplanes, but the training serves as a defense against possible aggression.
Venezuelan Aubenminister Jorge Arreaza echoed the Russian guidance, calling the criticism of the cooperation cynical: "The USA has at least 800 (known) military bases in 70 countries. Today, 75 of the 107 U.S. security operation programs take place in Latin America." And if the USA are so concerned about wasting money, they should reconsider the Pentagon’s budget of 674 billion US dollars for 2019: "Surely the 50 million poor and families without access to health care in the U.S. could suggest more equitable targets for these funds."
This of course refers to the USA. Venezuelan President Nicolaus Maduro keeps talking about how the U.S. was planning a coup or an overthrow of the government. Yesterday he repeated this once again: "Today I denounce once again the plot of the White House, which is preparing to attack Venezuelan democracy, to kill me and to subject Venezuela to a dictatorial government." In particular, he points to Trump’s security adviser John Bolton as being behind the assassination plans. However, the fear is not absurd. It came out this summer that Donald Trump had actually considered intervening militarily in the summer of 2017, but that did not resonate with his team.
Russian base in Venezuela?
According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper, Russia is said to be considering permanently deploying strategic bombers capable of being equipped with nuclear weapons to Venezuela after the verbal exchange of blows with the U.S. This is what informants from the militar had reported. Thus, an agreement had been reached to move Russian military aircraft to the Venezuelan base on Orchilla Island. Since Venezuela’s constitution prohibits a permanent foreign base, the planes were stationed there only temporarily, but perhaps repeatedly.
Chavez had already offered the island to the Russians as a base in 2008. Russia did not go for it, however, because Dmitry Medvedev concluded the Start-3 agreement with the U.S. at the time, which came into force in 2011, the newspaper writes. Trump had called Start 3 one of the "bad agreements" denotes. The agreement, which limits the number of warheads and delivery systems, will end in 2021 unless extended.
For Venezuela, the deployment of Russian strategic bombers would be a security guarantee against foreign interventions, for Russia a strategically important base in Latin America and a response to Washington’s threat to unilaterally terminate the INF agreement or even withdraw from Start 3, and for the U.S. a provocation and a warning to withdraw from the INF treaty. It prohibits Russia and the USA from launching land-based missiles with a range of between 500 and 5500 km. An end to the INF agreement is first of all a threat for Europe and Russia. With a base in Venezuela, but also for the U.S.