CARACAS, Venezuela - Russia has granted Venezuela a new $4-billion line of credit for "military and technical cooperation," the South American nation's leader Hugo Chavez said.
During a signing ceremony Oct. 6 with Russian officials, Chavez thanked Moscow for the latest offer and for previous loans, saying that prior to the assistance "Venezuela was unarmed."
"I thank the Russian government very much for this credit," Chavez said. "We have the right to equip our defense forces. It is an obligation for me as the head of state and the commander of the armed forces."
Chavez said $2 billion would be available next year and the other half in 2013.
Between 2005 and 2007, Venezuela reached deals to buy $4 billion worth of arms from Russia, including Sukhoi fighter jets, combat helicopters and guns.
The Chavez government also secured a $2.2 billion loan in 2010 to purchase Russian T-72 tanks and an undisclosed number of S-300 antiaircraft missiles.
Chavez, a leftist firebrand who often rails against the "imperialist" United States, has said Venezuela needs to guard its vast oil and mineral wealth.