Venezuela offers island for Russian strategic bombers

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has offered the country's island La Orchida as a temporary base for Russian strategic bombers.

“There is such a proposal on the part of the Venezuelan president,” said the chief of the long-range aviation staff Anatoly Zhikharev.“Chavez offered us a whole island with an airfield that we can use for the temporary basing of strategic bombers.”

Zhikharev added that, providing there is the relevant political will, the island could be used by the Russian air force. He said that the temporary basing opportunity might be used for air patrol missions.

The Russian Navy and two long-range strategic bombers visited Venezuela in November last year to participate in exercises with the country's navy.