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Venezuela to buy Russian Sukhoi-30 for USD 1 billion

Venezuela is to purchase Russian warplanes Sukhoi-30 for more than USD 1 billion, in a deal that marks a "historic" entry of Russian aircraft into the Latin American market.

The agreement will be initialed during President Hugo Chávez' visit to Russia, next July 24th, business newspaper Vedomosti reported, as quoted by AFP.

During his three-day stay, Chávez is to visit military factories, particularly Barrikady, in Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad, south), said a source close to the Russian weapon exporting firm Rosoboronexport quoted by Vedomosti.

"This is a sale of heavy warplanes no other Latin American country owns," the newspaper said. "This is a historic headway comparable to the sale of Mig-29 warplanes in 1994 to Malaysia," said Ruslan Pujov, director of the strategy and technology research center, as quoted by Vedomosti.

On June 4th, Chávez announced his decision to purchase Sukhoi-30 warplanes in response to Washington move to ban US arms and military equipment sales to Venezuela.

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