"Needless to say, should S-300s be delivered to Venezuela, they would effectively strengthen its defense capability, and it would not be easy for its possible adversaries to punish the country by striking at its oil fields," former Air Force commander Gen. Anatoly Kornukov said.
He added that as an oil-rich country Venezuela had to protect its natural resources.
"It is difficult to say how many air-defense systems Venezuela would need, since it has to protect not separate sites, but its entire territory," he said, adding that 10 S-300 battalions, each comprising six launchers, "should be enough."
The Venezuelan government on Wednesday accused international and domestic media of deliberately misinterpreting information on President Hugo Chavez's recent visit to Russia.
Some media reports said Chavez offered to host Russian military bases in Venezuela and to buy $30 billion worth of Russian weaponry in the next four years.
Venezuela's 1999 Constitution prohibits the hosting of foreign military bases in the country.
In 2005-2006, Venezuela bought more than 50 combat helicopters, 24 Su-30MK2 fighters, 12 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems and 100,000 AK-103 assault rifles from Russia. Current contracts are worth about $4 billion, according to various sources.
Future deliveries may include Amur-class diesel submarines, Il-76MD military transport planes, Il-78 aerial tankers and air-defense missile systems.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Amidst Amish Past, Russia’s Lokomotiv Sees Hockey Future
Infographics: Powerful Ship-Borne Laser System
Cartoons: Polar Explorer Day
The current contract portfolio of Russian arms exporters is worth about $46 billion. Annual exports total $15 billion, and this will ensure uninterrupted deliveries for the next three years, even in the worst-case scenario. The list of the main buyers of Russian weapons is unlikely to change drastically.