Caracas and Moscow have agreed on the purchase of additional 100 T-72 main battle tanks by Venezuela as part of a $4-bln loan secured by the oil-rich Latin American country in 2011 to buy Russian weaponry, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper said on Wednesday.
Russia completed in March the delivery of 92 modernized T-72B1V MBTs, the Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems and other military equipment to Venezuela under a separate $2.2-bln loan secured by Chavez' government in 2010.
Venezuela is a leading importer of Russian arms. Between 2005 and 2007, Caracas signed $4 billion worth of arms deals with Russia to buy Sukhoi fighter jets, combat helicopters, and small arms.
Russian loans to Venezuela are secured by Russia’s participation in a number of joint oil projects with Caracas.
Russia's state-controlled oil giant Rosneft has recently gained access to the Carabobo 2 block for $1.2 billion paid upfront and a $1-bln loan to Venezuela's state company PDVSA.
Rosneft is also one of five Russian companies in a consortium working with PDVSA to develop the Junin Block 6 of the Orinoco belt.