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  Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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President Hugo Chavez said Venezuela had taken delivery of 24 Russian
President Hugo Chavez said Venezuela had taken delivery of 24 Russian Sukhoi fighter jets, and warned the U.S. Fourth Fleet that his country is ready to defend itself.

"We've received the 24 Sukhoi aircraft," he said Sunday. "They're for defensive purposes; we're not going to attack anybody."

The deal included training for pilots and crews, as well as missiles for the fighters.

Chavez said the Sukhoi missiles have far greater range than those of the U.S. F-16 fighter jet, and warned the U.S. Fourth Fleet to keep out of Venezuelan waters.

"Any gringo ship that sails into brown waters [river waters] will itself turn brown and go to the bottom, because they'll not get through," he said.

The jets are part of a recent $4 billion deal with Moscow, including tanks, transport planes, air-defense systems and AK assault rifles.

In 2005-2006, Venezuela signed a deal to buy more than 50 combat helicopters, 24 Su-30MK2 fighters, 12 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems and 100,000 AK-103 rifles from Russia.

Chavez, an outspoken critic of Washington since coming to power nine years ago, has focused his foreign policy on bolstering ties with countries outside the U.S. sphere of influence.


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