[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 July 2006, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Chavez in Russia for arms deals
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Mr Chavez is beefing up his armed forces with Russian help
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is visiting Russia, where he is expected to sign deals to buy new fighter jets and helicopters.

He will visit Volgograd - formerly Stalingrad - on Tuesday, and later the Urals town of Izhevsk, where Kalashnikov assault rifles are made.

The US has tried to persuade Russia not to supply weapons to Venezuela.

Mr Chavez is visiting several countries, lobbying for a Venezuelan seat on the UN Security Council.

On Monday he signed a series of co-operation agreements with President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, covering topics such as technology, energy and agriculture.

Both Mr Lukashenko and Mr Chavez are fierce critics of US policy.

In Belarus they exchanged compliments about each other's strong leadership styles.

"I'm impressed by your knowledge of military affairs," Mr Lukashenko told Mr Chavez as they toured an army museum.

Strategic alliance

The US has labelled Mr Lukashenko "Europe's last dictator".

Mr Chavez said the agreements were just the start of a Belarus-Venezuela strategic alliance.

He will later visit Qatar, Iran, Vietnam and Mali.

The planned arms deal with Russia is worth around $1bn (542m), correspondents say.

The US has voiced concerns about it, having banned such deals with Caracas for US manufacturers.

Russia plans to deliver 30 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and 30 helicopters to Venezuela.

Venezuela also plans to buy 100,000 Russian-made AK-103 assault rifles and wants to set up factories on its soil to produce Kalashnikovs under licence.

Hear President Chavez at a news briefing in Russia

Chavez forges ties with Belarus
25 Jul 06 |  Europe
Chavez warns US over Iran policy
14 May 06 |  Americas
US warns against Chavez 'danger'
17 Feb 06 |  Americas
EU extends sanctions on Belarus
18 May 06 |  Europe
Belarus jails Lukashenko's foes
28 Mar 06 |  Europe

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific