355593_US-Russia copyA number of US lawmakers and Pentagon officials have raised concerns over Russia’s plans for sending navy ships and long-range bombers to Latin America for the first time in years. According to The Hill, Moscow is planning bases in countries in the region like Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s national security team met last week to discuss strengthening military ties with the region. “They’re on the march,” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) told a Senate hearing earlier this month. “They’re working the scenes where we can’t work. And they’re doing a pretty good job.” Gen. James Kelly, commander of US Southern Command, also said such plans by Moscow to increase its military presence in Latin America have not been seen in more than 30 years. “It has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian military presence,” said Kelly at the Senate hearing. “We will be losing the ability to influence developments in a region that is very important to us,” warned Angel Rabasa, a senior political scientist at RAND, a think tank formed to offer research and analysis to the US military. MORE