Russia and Venezuela tighten links

The Presidents of Venezuela and Russia have met to further tighten military and economic cooperation, in the wake of Moscow’s war with Georgia which soured relations with the US.

Hugo Chavez met with Dmitry Medvedev in the city of Orenburg.

It is his second trip to Russia in just over two months, part of a tour that has also taken him to Cuba and China.

Chavez was invited to observe military manoeuvres involving thousands of Russian troops.

Moscow has contracted to supply around three billion euros worth of fighter jets, helicopters and Kalashnikov assault rifles to Caracas since 2005.

A naval squadron is on its way to Venezuela, following two bombers earlier this month.

Chavez said this visit he will also authorise a consortium between Russia’s biggest oil companies and Gazprom and Venezuela’s state energy company.

Gazprom is to launch its first drilling rig to tap Venezuela’s offshore gas reserves next month.

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