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Venezuela Receives First Shipment of Russian Military Helicopters

Venezuela has received the first three of at least 10 military helicopters purchased from Russia.

Military officials say the three MI-17 helicopters arrived Tuesday in Caracas.

Venezuela bought the helicopters as part of a $120 million deal signed last March. Caracas also agreed last year to buy 100,000 Russian-made Kalashnikov assault rifles.

U.S. officials have criticized the deals, saying they could trigger an arms race, destabilizing the region.

MI-17s can be used in an assault role or as a transport craft. Venezuelan military officials say the helicopters will be used to patrol the border with neighboring Colombia.

The remaining helicopters bought from Russia are transport helicopters.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.