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Global Insights: Russia-Venezuela Ties Driven by Energy, not Arms

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In reflecting on the results of his first-ever visit to Venezuela, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin estimated on Monday that Venezuelan orders for Russian weapons "could exceed $5 billion." The resulting headlines are somewhat misleading, and may overlook developments that will have a larger impact on the bilateral relationship in coming years.

The $5 billion figure appears to include Russian arms still being supplied under existing contracts, including four MI-17 multirole combat helicopters whose delivery coincided with Putin's visit. These were the last in a contract for 38 of the helicopters signed in 2006. No new arms deals were announced before, during, or after Putin's trip last week. ...

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