The Russian and Venezuelan defense ministries have agreed to expand the cooperation between their navies.
At a meeting in Moscow on Thursday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and his Venezuelan counterpart Vladimir Podrino Lopez signed an agreement to allow visits by military vessels.
As part of the agreement, the Venezuelan ports will be opened to the Russian Navy, effectively enabling Russia to acquire a naval base in Latin America.
Since December 2017, Russia has had a similar agreement with Syria, which allowed Russia to deploy as many as 10 ships and two submarines in the Mediterranean Sea at the peak of its campaign to support Bashar al-Assad.
In July 2019, Russia reached an even more significant agreement with Iran. Two Iranian ports – Bushehr in the south and Chabahar in the south-east – will become forward bases for Russia’s Navy that can even be used by nuclear submarines.
Bushehr will also serve as a base for the Russian Aerospace Forces, with Su-37 and Su-57 fighters deployed there. There are also plans to station a contingent of Russian troops there, primarily special forces, under the same pretext that has been used in Syria and in Lebanon: on paper, they will be there as “advisors” to the Iranian military.
Before signing the agreement, Shoygu discussed the situation in Venezuela and other matters relating to military and technological cooperation.
Lopez, in turn, commented on the superiority of the Russian weapons that have been showcased in the “Army Games” that have been underway in Russia since August 3.
“The Russian weaponry has been performing superbly during the army competitions. The international army games position Russia as a leading developer and producer of the latest modern weapons systems,” he remarked.