Monday, September 15, 2008

Russian Bombers To Fly Over Caribbean Monday

MOSCOW (AFP)--Two Russian strategic bombers were to fly Monday over the Caribbean Sea from Venezuela, the air force said, in exercises Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has described as a "warning" to Washington.

"The two bombers on Monday will fly over neutral waters of the Caribbean sea for around six hours," Russian air force spokesman Alexander Drik told AFP.

The TU-160 planes - huge supersonic combat aircraft capable of carrying nuclear bombs and guided missiles - are flying to test their effectiveness in a tropical climate, Drik said.

The planes landed last week at the El Libertador airbase in northern Venezuela to take part in November naval exercises. Chavez described their presence as "a warning... a message to the (U.S.) empire."

Russia has said it will send a nuclear-powered cruiser and other warships to the Caribbean for the November exercises - the first such maneuvers in the U.S. vicinity since the Cold War.

The moves came amid soaring tensions between Russia and the U.S., including over the presence of U.S. naval vessels sent close to Russian shores to deliver aid to Georgia.

Chavez, who said he will pilot one of the aircraft himself, was to meet the crews of the bombers Tuesday, the air force spokesman said.

Source: MorningStar.Com

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