On Monday, two nuclear capable TU-160 Russian supersonic bombers landed at Simon Bolivar International airport near Caracas in Venezuela angering the United States. Russian bombers were also joined by an AN-124 military transport plane and an IL-62 passenger jet.
The bombers covered a distance of more than 6200 miles (about 10,000 km) that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited “half way around the world” and criticized Russia’s move of sending nuclear capable bombers to Venezuela. Whereas Venezuelan defence minister said that this deployment is not a provocation, he said, “We are makers of peace not war”.
Mike Pompeo wrote on twitter, “#Russia’s government has sent bombers halfway around the world to #Venezuela. The Russian and Venezuelan people should see this for what it is: two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer”.
#Russia‘s government has sent bombers halfway around the world to #Venezuela. The Russian and Venezuelan people should see this for what it is: two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer. pic.twitter.com/bCBGbGtaHT
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 11, 2018
Russia criticized Pompeo’s remarks saying it “completely inappropriate”. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on conference call on Tuesday, “We consider it completely inappropriate”.
Peskov said, “As for the idea that we are squandering money, we do not agree. It’s not really appropriate for a country half of whose defence budget could feed the whole of Africa to be making such statements”.
The move came days after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited Moscow and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on last Wednesday. During meeting Russia affirmed full support to Venezuela who is hit by low oil prices and facing severe economic crisis with an inflation of more than 1.3 million percent.
Earlier Russian TU-160 bombers have visited Venezuela in 2008 and 2013, which can fly approximately 7,500 miles without refueling and are capable of carrying short range nuclear missiles.