- Russia pledges to continue arms deliveries to Venezuela
- Russia loses money, reputation over S-300 sale ban - expert
- Venezuelan president arrives in Moscow for talks
- Hugo Chavez’s visit to reinforce Venezuela’s ties with Russia
Russia's S-300 air defense systems, which Moscow refused to deliver to Iran following a new round of UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic, could be sold to Venezuela instead, a Russian arms trade expert said on Friday.
Russia signed a deal to deliver five battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defense systems to Iran in 2007 but banned the sale in September, saying the systems, along with a number of other weapons, were covered by the fourth round of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council against Iran over its nuclear program in June.
"Russia is looking for a buyer of five battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defense systems ordered by Iran, which are worth $800 million, and Venezuela could become such a buyer," said Igor Korotchenko, head of a Moscow-based think tank on the international arms trade.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is currently on a visit to Russia, earlier said his country was interested in buying different types of Russian-made air defense systems to create a multilayered air defense network.
Venezuela has already purchased 12 Tor-M1 air defense systems, a number of ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns and Igla-S portable short-range air defense systems from Russia.
The S-300PMU-1 (SA-20 Gargoyle) is an extended range version of S-300PMU with a limited anti-ballistic missile capability.
Korotchenko said that if the S-300 deal with Venezuela goes through, Caracas should pay cash for the missiles, rather than take another loan from Russia.
"The S-300 is a very good product and Venezuela should pay the full amount in cash, as the country's budget has enough funds to cover the deal," Korotchenko said.
Moscow has already provided Caracas with several loans to buy Russian-made weaponry, including a recent $2.2-mln loan on the purchase of 92 T-72M1M tanks, the Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems and other military equipment.
MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti)
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- email@example.comThe S-300 Missile Systems find a home and more18:03, 15/10/2010I was happy to read that the five battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defense systems have found a new home in Venezuela. The Russian defense manufacturing industry will be very relieved that a new buyer has been found because losing $800 million in sales simply hurts business, makes it hard to pay employees, and further restricts future arms developments.
And with oil and natural gas fields to protect from the constant threat of enemy invasion, Venezuela will be able to put these five battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defense systems to good use immediately.
The United States may not be to happy about this purchase but I am pretty sure this will not bother Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at all.
A properly defended country is a happy country and now Venezuela will feel a little more secure.
The official visit with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez seems to be going very well with a lot of cross cultural trade being discussed from nuclear reactors to investments in banana fields.
Everything is important to keep trade going back and forth between Venezuela and Russia. Money in motion keeps people employed, industry running and new technology being developed.
The new nuclear reactor for Venezuela for electricity generation is extremely important as Venezuela has had a real problem with drought over the past two years limiting the amount of hydro power they can produce. A nuclear reactor power generation plant will really help to stabilize the power situation in Venezuela.
And investing in Venezuela's banana plantations is a wise way to recirculate some of the money received for the five new battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defense systems. Out of this deal Russians will get access to lots of bananas to sell in their grocery stores year round.
All in all I would say it has been a very productive two days of talks with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and cementing some critical deals of international trade and commerce.