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  • A serviceman from Venezuela fires an anti-aircraft missile during the the International Army Games 2015 in the port town of Yeysk, Russia, August 9, 2015. (FILE)

    A serviceman from Venezuela fires an anti-aircraft missile during the the International Army Games 2015 in the port town of Yeysk, Russia, August 9, 2015. (FILE) | Photo: Reuters

Venezuela is the largest operator of Russian armaments and military hardware in the Latin American region.

Venezuela has amassed an impressive array of state-of-the-art weaponry from its key strategic ally, the Russian Federation, who have fulfilled over 10 contracts to deliver arms to the Bolivarian Republic.

The revelation was made by the head of the Russian delegation to the Expodefensa 2017 arms exhibition in Colombia, Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation Anatoly Punchuk. The exhibition is being held from Dec. 4-6, told TASS.

The period of using the Russian government’s loan provided to Venezuela has ended,” Punchuk said.

“The Russian side has fully implemented its obligations to the Venezuelan partners. We have delivered all the armaments to the foreign customer under the contracts concluded earlier."

In 2010, Russia loaned Venezuela $US4 billion to buy weapons when Chavez visited Moscow in 2010. It is unclear if any MANPADS missiles were part of that deal.

Under agreements signed a year earlier, Russia delivered armored vehicles, missiles and artillery equipment, about 12 S-300 air defense systems and large portions of related materiel.

"Venezuela is the largest operator of Russian armament and military hardware in the Latin American region,” Punchuk noted. “The Russian side has delivered various armaments worth an impressive sum.”

Additionally, a planned factory for the production of the AK-103 automatic rifles, an iteration of the famous Kalashnikov automatic rifle series that includes components made from high-strength plastic components rather than metal or wood, will soon kick into production according to scheduñe-

Replying to a question about when the factory for the production of AK-103 automatic rifles would launch its operations in that country, Punchuk said that this work was being carried out jointly with Venezuelan partners in compliance with the schedule approved by Caracas.

"It will be launched into operation within the established timeframe," he said.


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