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Will Venezuela Become a Russian Missile Base?

Michael Peck

With the United States developing a new generation of cruise missiles in response to alleged Russian arms control violations, a response from Moscow was inevitable.

But Russian missiles in Venezuela? That’s what some Russian commentators are calling for in retaliation for the Trump administration withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The Pentagon has already tested a new ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 500 kilometers (311 miles), which exceeds INF Treaty limits.

“Russia has legal grounds, in response to the emergence of new weapons from the USA after leaving the INF Treaty, to deploy their submarines and ships with medium and shorter-range missiles in relative proximity to the U.S. borders,” Major General Vladimir Bogatyrev, a reservist and chairman of the National Association of Reserve Officers, told Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

Bogatyrev suggested that Russian warships equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles could operate from Venezuela. The Kalibr is a family of naval cruise missiles, including the SS-N-30, a subsonic weapon equivalent to the U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile. The SS-N-30, carried by surface ships and submarines has an estimated range of up to 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles). Like the Tomahawk, the Kalibr is typically armed with conventional warheads for missions such as attacking Syrian rebels. But the missile can be armed with a nuclear warhead.

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