A group of Russian military personnel arrived in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on Saturday to take part in consultations with government officials on bilateral defence industry cooperation.
“Let the United States fulfil its obligations in Syria, but they shouldn’t worry about it. This [deployment] is done within the framework of our normal relations with the legitimate government”, Yuri Ushakov, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalists on Thursday, commenting on the visit of the Russian military to Caracas.
Later in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that Moscow is not violating international law in Venezuela, unlike the United States, stressing that Washington aims to derail the situation in the Latin American country by supporting self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido.
“The Russian side has not violated anything, neither international agreements, nor Venezuela’s domestic legislation. Russia does not change the balance of forces in the region and does not threaten anyone, as those in Washington do”, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted.
According to the military attache of Venezuela’s Embassy in Moscow Jose Rafael Torrealba Perez, the Russian experts are in Venezuela for defence cooperation only.
“As for the presence of Russian specialists, we are talking about cooperation, defence industry cooperation. And in no way are we talking about Russia’s military presence to conduct military operations”, he said.
Previously, Washington stated that the arrival of Russian military aircraft in Venezuela was an “unwelcomed provocation”. Addressing the reports, US President Donald Trump claimed that “Russia has to get out”, stressing that “All options are open” on the matter.
Venezuela has been dealing with a political crisis for around two months, since the leader of the country’s opposition, Juan Guaido, illegally proclaimed himself interim president. He was immediately recognised by the US and some of its allies, while Russia, China, Turkey, and many other countries vowed to support legitimate President Nicolas Maduro.Donald Trump tells Russia to ‘get out’ of Venezuela as tensions rise