Two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers land in Venezuela, nuclear battle cruiser on way

The Russian defense ministry said the Tu-160 nuclear-capable, multi-mission bombers (NATO-coded Blackjack) arrived Wednesday Sept. 10 at a Venezuelan air base to take part in joint military exercises along with a Russian flotilla.
debkafile‘s military sources first disclosed on Sept. 9, that the nuclear maritime reconnaissance/anti-submarine warfare turboprop TU-142 (NATO coded Bear F, or Bear J), which can fly 6,500 km, i.e. from Venezuela to the US coast, will also be based at a Venezuelan military airfield.
Caracas announced that four Russian ships with almost 1,000 sailors aboard would join its navy for maneuvers on November 10-14.
Like the Russian air contingent, the Russian flotilla is also bigger and more formidable than Russian and Venezuelan spokesmen have indicated.
According to debkafile‘s military sources, it consists of six to eight vessels, led by the Kirov Class (Type 1144.2) Peter the Great nuclear-powered heavy missile cruiser, one of the largest warships in the world, which is designed to guard the rest of the group against submarine and air attack.
It is armed with the Granit (NATO designated SS-N-19 Shipwreck) long range, anti-ship missile system, consisting of 20 missiles. If the lead missile is intercepted, one of the others moves into the lead role.
Peter the Great is also equipped with 40 S-300F air defense missiles.
Other ships in the Russian flotilla are the Admiral Chabanenko, the Russian navy’s most advanced guided missile anti-submarine battleship, and the guided nuclear missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy. They are escorted by five smaller warships and a fuel vessel.
debkafile‘s military experts deduce from the makeup of the Russian group that, while it is being presented as primarily defensive, in fact it is the core infrastructure of an important Russian air and fleet presence for shielding a potential assault deployment in the event of a Kremlin decision to base one in Venezuela.

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