MOSCOW, December 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia sees no need to set up permanent military bases in Venezuela or Cuba, but could use their military infrastructure, the prime minister said on Thursday. (Why has Russia sent warships to Venezuela? - poll)
"There is no need to build permanent bases, although we have such agreements with the Venezuelan leadership. I do not think the Cuban leadership would object either. If necessary, we will be able to use these countries' ports to refuel and replenish supplies for our warships," Vladimir Putin said during a televised question-and-answer session.
He said Russia also has several such agreements with other countries.
"I'm going to reveal a big military secret to you. When we announced that our warships were headed for Venezuela to participate in a joint exercise, we received many questions - honestly speaking, I had not expected this - requests from many countries for our warships to call at their ports," he said.
He called the recent Russian-Venezuelan naval exercises "a success." (Russian-Venezuelan joint exercises VenRus-2008 - Image Galleries)
Russian and Venezuelan warships concluded on Tuesday the active phase of VenRus-2008, during which they practiced deployment, coordinated tactical maneuvering, air defense, search, pursuit and the detention of a ship suspected of illegal activities.
The Russian task force arrived in Venezuela at the end of November, following a two-month tour of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, which saw Russian ships visiting Libya, Turkey and France.