Russia is ready to send more ‘military specialists’ to Venezuela
Russia says it is ready to send more ‘military specialists’ to Venezuela – after President Trump claimed Moscow had just finished pulling its people OUT
- Russia is ready to send military specialists to Venezuela, foreign ministry says
- Moscow is also willing to increase the overall size of its military presence there
- Comes after Trump claimed that Russia had withdrawn ‘most of its people’
- America and Russia are locked in battle for control of the South American nation
Russia stands ready to send more ‘military specialists’ to Venezuela if they are deemed necessary, the country’s state-run news agency has said.
The country’s foreign ministry has also not ruled out increasing the number of military personnel currently stationed in the South American nation.
The news runs counter to President Trump’s claim, tweeted earlier this week, that Moscow had just finished pulling its people out.
America and Russia are locked in a battle for control over Venezuela, site of the world’s largest oil reserves, with Moscow backing President Maduro and Washington supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido.
Russia is ready to send more ‘military specialists’ to Venezuela and increase its presence in the South American country, the foreign ministry has said (President Putin, pictured)
Protesters have been trying for months to topple President Nicolas Maduro, who is backed by Moscow, from power – leading to a tense stand-off
Russian defence firm Rostec had stationed around 1,000 security contractors in the country two years ago, but recent reports suggest that number has been cut to just a few dozen after Maduro failed to cover the bill.
Rostec had worked with Venezuelan troops and advised Maduro’s regime as well as helped to secure arms deals.
The Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary group whose recruits are known to have fought in the Syrian Civil War, is also thought to be present in the country – though the extent of its deployment is unclear.
The US threw its backing behind Guaido after he declared himself the legitimate president of Veneuzela following what many saw as illegitimate elections last year that gave Maduro a second term in power.
Since then, Guaido has won the backing of most western nations by promising to oust Maduro and install a transitional government until fresh elections can be held.
Moscow continues to support Maduro – having invested billions in his government – creating fear of a proxy conflict between the US and Russia.
Russia’s stance contradicts a tweet from President Trump earlier this week, who claimed Moscow had just finished pulling its people out
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking on behalf of President Trump, has said America is willing to oust Maduro by force if necessary.
Meanwhile John Bolton, national security adviser, has warned Moscow that ‘we expect the Russians not to interfere in Venezuela.’
Chronic mismanagement of Venezuela’s oil reserves has seen the country’s economy all-but collapse, with rampant hyper-inflation, food shortages and power outages.
Venezuela was South America’s richest nation under Maduro’s predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chavez.
On April 30, Guaido urged local military that were on the side of the opposition to rise up against the government in a video released that day from Caracas, the capital of Venezuela.
The effort, dubbed Operacion Libertad, which translates to Operation Freedom, was supposed to be the final phase of the plans to overthrow Maduro.
Top U.S. officials, including Trump, Bolton, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly voiced support for Guido and the opposition.
US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido is trying to take power from Maduro in Venezuela, pitting Washington against Moscow
Guiado announced the start of Operation Libertad to oust Maduro last month, hoping the military was about to defect to his side, but the effort failed (pictured, street protests)
After the effort was unsuccessful, reports emerged that Trump was displeased with Bolton’s advice. The Washington Post said that, according to sources, Trump felt he was misled into believing the opposition would be successful.
Trump denied the reports and said, ‘John’s very good, and John has strong views on things, but that’s OK.’
The president also admitted that Bolton is even more aggressive than he is on national security and foreign policy issues.
I actually temper John, which is pretty amazing, isn’t it? I’m the one that tempers him,’ Trump marveled. ‘I like John, I get very good advice from John.’
Russia wasn’t the only country the U.S. was concerned would get involved with the clashes in Venezuela.
During the height of the confrontations between Venezuela government and its people, Trump threatened he would issue a ‘full and complete embargo’ on Cuba if it did not cease military operations in the nation.
The president accused the Caribbean nation of propping Maduro – a claim the Cuban government challenged.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez called Bolton a ‘pathological liar’ for his claims that some 20,000 Cubans in Venezuela are providing security support for Maduro.
Rodriguez said those few ten thousand Cubans are mostly medical workers.
‘That State Department memorandum says Cuban special forces were deployed to the border between Colombia and Venezuela to engage in provocative military exercises. That’s a lie. I invite them to provide evidence,’ Rodriguez said at a news conference April 25.
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