- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2008

CARACAS, VENEZUELA (AP) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has agreed to help start a nuclear energy program in Venezuela.

The Russian leader also says Moscow is willing to participate in a socialist trade bloc in Latin America led by President Hugo Chavez.

Mevedev used his visit to Venezuela starting Wednesday to extend Moscow’s reach into Latin America and deepen trade and military ties. Chavez denied trying to provoke the United States, but he welcomed Russia’s growing presence in Latin America as a reflection of declining U.S. influence.

Chavez and Medvedev planned to visit a Russian warship anchored off Venezuela’s coast on Thursday. Russian warships will join Venezuela’s navy in training exercises in the Caribbean next week.

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