x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Cuba, Venezuela may host Russian bombers

Russia can "possibly" use Cuba to station its strategic bombers there, while Venezuela offers Moscow the same on its territory.

Russia can "possibly" use Cuba to station its strategic bombers there, while Venezuela has offered Moscow to do the same on its territory, a senior Russian strategic air force commander told Interfax. "It is possible with Cuba," Interfax quoted Major Gen Anatoly Zhikharev as saying. "There are four or five airfields with runways 4,000 metres long which suits us quite well. "If there is a will of heads of the two states, a political will, we are ready to fly there," he said.

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has also offered to let Russia use his country's territory to station Russian strategic bombers there, Major Gen Zhikharev told Interfax. "Yes, such a proposal from the president of Venezuela exists. If there is an appropriate political decision it is possible," he said. The local airfield would have to be upgraded before it could be used by the Russian bombers, he added.

The Russian authorities have recently tried to revive ties with Soviet-era allies Cuba and Venezuela, which are both passionate critics of the US. The report comes as Russian president Dmitry Medvedev is gearing up to meet new US President Barack Obama in London in early April in an effort to relaunch US-Russian ties. * AFP