Russia arms exports to Venezuela could surpass $5bn, according to Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Putin said the orders for military hardware may exceed $5bn following reports that his government would extend its $2.2bn loan to Venezuela.

Since 2005, Venezuela has bought $4bn-worth of Russian weapons, including warplanes, helicopters and Kalashnikov assault rifles.

Russia’s 13 major defence firms, including IzhMash and a Tula-based company, will receive the military equipment orders.

Venezuela has recently received the last four of 38 Mi-17 military helicopters bought from Russia.