RIA Novosti 
Friday, Oct 31, 2008
Venezuela and Russia are planning to conduct joint air force exercises in 2009, the Venezuelan air force chief has said.
“Joint Russian-Venezuelan air force drills have been planned for next year. We could have participated in joint naval exercises due in November if they included a simulated air attack, but this has not been included in the plans so far,” Luis Acosta was quoted as saying by the Venezuelan Ministry of Communications and Information on its website.
Two Russian strategic bombers recently carried out patrols along the coast of South America during a visit to Venezuela and a naval task force led by the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy is on its way to the country for joint exercises in the Caribbean in November.
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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in mid-August that the Bush administration was unhappy with flights by Russian strategic bombers near U.S. borders and accused Moscow of playing a “dangerous game.”
However, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov subsequently denied Western media reports that military cooperation between Russia and Venezuela was aimed against the United States.
“I do not know how such conclusions are drawn. Neither Russia nor Venezuela have any plans to attack anyone. Russia and Venezuela enjoy cooperation basing on the norms of international law,” Lavrov said.