The head of Russia's state arms trading agency says Russia has signed contracts to sell Venezuela 24 jet fighter planes and 53 military helicopters.

Details of the deal were not immediately clear. But the head of Russia's arms export agency said the two countries have signed contracts for Venezuelan purchase of some $3 billion worth of military equipment over the last 18 months.

His comments came as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez met in Moscow.

The newly acquired Russian fighter planes are expected to replace a fleet of U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets. Venezuelan authorities say they have not been able to buy spare parts for the F-16s since Washington imposed an arms embargo on Venezuela earlier this year.

Mr. Putin said Thursday the contracts are not directed against other states. He said they are aimed at developing the economies of the two countries.