Moscow grants Venezuela $2.2 billion loan

Russia will lend Venezuela $2.2 billion to improve its defenses. President Hugo Chavez made the announcement after returning from his trip to Moscow.

Chavez also confirmed the country will buy more than ninety Russian tanks and defense systems.

“Thanks to the support of the president and the prime minister of Russia, an agreement was signed in order to build up our defense capability,” Chavez said in his Sunday TV show “Alo Presidente”. “We do not conceal from anybody that Russia will deliver 92 T-72 tanks to Venezuela.”

The president said the modernization program was vital for the Latin American country.

“The Venezuelan army is equipped with the tanks which have already served for 30 years, and some of them for 50 years.”

The Venezuelan president also announced the purchases of Smerch multiple launch fire systems in Russia.

The agreement was signed during Chavez's visit to Moscow, during which he recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.