Venezuela says Russian planes land for military cooperation

Venezuela: Russian Planes Carrying Troops, Equipment Land in Caracas

Venezuela says Russian planes carried military officials to discuss cooperation

The State Dept says Pompeo called Russia's FM to tell him that the USA "will not stand idly by as Russian Federation exacerbates tensions in Venezuela".

Russian airforce planes land in Caracas, Venezuela.

Russian Federation has warned the United States and neighbors against a military intervention in Venezuela. Unconfirmed reports in January claimed that the Russian government had begun sending military contractors to Venezuela, raising the possibility of greater Russian intervention to complicate regime-change efforts through protests or a military coup.

Two Russian military planes touched down outside the capital Caracas on Saturday carrying almost a hundred troops and military staff, and 35 tons of cargo, according to media reports. The Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet had flown from Moscow via Syria, where Russian Federation supports President Bashar Assad.

The cargo plane left Venezuela on Sunday. Russian media outlet Sputnik cited an unnamed diplomatic source on the ground in Caracas, who said there was "nothing mysterious" about the two nations fulfilling ongoing military contracts.

Social media and non-state Venezuelan media picked up the information and posted pictures of the planes at the airport.

Putin shakes hands with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro during a meeting at the Novo Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow Russia

An AFP journalist early on Sunday saw one of the planes on the tarmac at Maiquetia airport, with a Russian flag on its fuselage.

Russia's Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry did not reply to messages seeking comment.

A longtime ally of Venezuela, Russia has backed incumbent leader Nicolas Maduro, while the United States, along with dozens of other countries, have shown support for Guaido, who declared himself interim president after a controversial election a year ago.

The Trump administration has levied crippling sanctions on the OPEC nation's oil industry in efforts to push Maduro from power and has called on Venezuelan military leaders to abandon him. "They also want to deplete the peaceful options at the disposal of the USA -led worldwide effort to promote change in Venezuela and then dare them to contemplate the worst option: military intervention".

In December, two Russian strategic bomber aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons landed in Venezuela in a show of support for Maduro's socialist government that infuriated Washington.

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