Monday, March 16, 2009
Russia could use bases for its strategic bombers on the doorstep of the United States in Cuba and Venezuela to underpin long-distance patrols in the region, a senior air force officer said Saturday.
“This is possible in Cuba,” General Anatoly Zhikharev, chief of the Russian air force’s strategic aviation staff, told the Interfax-AVN military news agency.
The comments were the latest signal that Moscow intends to project its military capability in far-flung corners of the globe despite a tight defence budget and hardware that experts consider in many respects outdated.
Zhikharev indicated that Russia was looking only at occasional use of the facilities — not setting up permanent bases in the region.
He noted that the Venezuelan constitution prohibited establishment of military bases of foreign states on Venezuelan territory and described the Russian possibile use of the facility there as “we land, we complete the flight, we take off.”