Moscow helps Venezuela against US taunts

Venezuelan Defence Minister Gustavo Rangel says military cooperation with Russia is preparing the country to face possible threats from the US. "I don't see anything in this relationship that would torment the Americans," Rangel told reporters, in reference to closer ties between Moscow and Caracas.

Rangel noted the reactivation of the US Fourth Fleet for Latin America and the Caribbean, announced in July. "We must prepare to deal with this threat," he said.

Two Russian TU-160 strategic bombers landed in Venezuela last week to take part in naval exercises later in the year. Venezuela's military must "adjust and adapt for the modern times," said Rangel.

A ship from the US Fourth Fleet is currently on a humanitarian mission in the region, visiting six countries over four months in the Caribbean.

Moth-balled for nearly 60 years, the US Fourth Fleet has no aircraft carrier or large warships, lacks offensive capability and will not enter any river or maritime territorial limits, the Pentagon said in July.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who will visit Moscow next week, confirmed on Tuesday that a Russian navy fleet will arrive in the country's territorial waters in "November or December" to conduct joint exercises, the first of its kind close to the United States since the Cold War.