Maduro leads Venezuela's largest military exercises in history


This handout photo released by the Venezuelan Presidency press office shows (L to R) Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, President Nicolas Maduro, the Commandant of the Armed Forces Strategic Command Operations Remigio Ceballos, Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez, First Lady Cilia Flores and General Jesus Suarez Chourio, General Commander of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, attending military exercises at Fort Guaicaipuro in Miranda state, Venezuela, on February 10, 2019. [Photo: AFP]

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro led military exercises on Sunday, pledging to strengthen the country's anti-aircraft defensive system.

As part of the drill, Venezuelan air force troops at Guicaipuro Fort, in northern state of Miranda, deployed Russian-made 9M317 and Igla-S surface-to-air missiles.

The 9M317 is a medium-range missile that can hit targets up to 50 km away, while the Igla-S is a man-portable missile with a 6 km reach.

Maduro said he will make "the sufficient investment for Venezuela" to strengthen its anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense system, and equip the militia with "even the most modern missiles in the world."

"These Igla-S and the thousands and thousands coming will be in the hands of the people, armed for anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense, to make our cities and towns impenetrable," he added.

The militia is a civilian force founded in 2008 to supplement the armed forces.

The military exercises, which mark the 200th anniversary of the historic Battle of Angostura, will continue through Friday.