Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has shoved a thorn in George Bush's side with the announcement that Venezuela will purchase five and up to nine submaries from Russia. A Russian news agency reports Chavez will be in Moscow next week to sign a deal for five Project 636 diesel subs with an option to buy four Project 637 Amur subs at a later date.
Chavez has indicated he wants the subs to thwart any attempted US embargo of Venezuela and to protect the country's oil rich offshore shelf. Last year Venezuela puchased two dozen SU-30 fighters, a number of helicopters and 100,000 AK-47 assault rifles. The country is the second largest customer for Russian arms.
The 636 is an updated version of the Russian Kilo submarine.