Russian-produced military equipment will be used in Venezuela’s upcoming military drills, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told the press.
“To a large extent, the weaponry and military equipment in Venezuela and in the possession of the Bolivarian Armed Forces is Russian-produced equipment, and so it simply cannot be done any other way,” Ryabkov explained in response to reporters’ questions.
The deputy foreign minister said that he does not know whether Venezuela has military equipment produced by other countries. “But to a significant extent, the [Venezuelan] army is equipped with our weaponry,” he said.
According to open source information, the Venezuelan Air Force has both Russian Su-30MKI fighters and US-produced Lockheed F-16As. The Air Force divisions have transport and training aircraft produced in the US, Brazil, France and China. The tanks in the republic’s possession include French AMX-30Vs and AMX-13s and British Scorpion 90FV-101s, but the majority are Soviet T-72s.
On 5 July, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that a military exercise would be conducted during the military parade on the country’s Independence Day. “We intend to conduct military drills relating to the defense of the Caribbean Sea, the coast of Venezuela and our country’s borders,” Maduro stated.
The exercises are scheduled for 24 July. Maduro noted that the purpose of the “military and civilian drills” is also to develop a plan of action “to defend the sea space and rivers”.
The last military exercises in Venezuela were held in February. During the maneuvers, the military rehearsed dealing with an invasion scenario.