Putin announces arms deal

April 6, 2010 at 9:44 AM
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MOSCOW, April 6 (UPI) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says Venezuela plans to spend more than $5 billion buying more weapons from Russia.

The arms deal follows a $2.2 billion seven-year loan Moscow promised to extend to Venezuela in September, The Moscow Times reported Tuesday.

In requesting a loan, Venezuela said it intended to buy several S-300 air defense systems and 92 T-72 tanks.

Venezuela already had purchased $4.4 billion worth of Russian arms, including Sukhoi fighter jets and Kalashnikov assault rifles, since 2005.

Putin's announcement of a $5 billion deal Monday indicated Venezuela might intend to purchase more than originally planned, the Times said.

There was no immediate response in Caracas to Putin's comments.

Last year U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern that Venezuela's purchase of Russian weapons could set off an arms race across Latin America.

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