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Moscow: Russian troops in Venezuela for as long as needed
March 29, 2019, 7:35 pm

Russia has dismissed US warnings for countries to stop supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro visited Russia and met with Putin in December 2018 [PPIO]

On Friday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton warned that moves to deploy military resources in Venezuela would be seen as a direct threat to international peace and security in the region.

“We strongly caution actors external to the Western Hemisphere against deploying military assets to Venezuela, or elsewhere in the Hemisphere, with the intent of establishing or expanding military operations,” Bolton said.

On March 23, An-124 and Il-62 planes to Caracas Airport on March 23, carrying Russian servicemen and 35 tonnes of cargo on board.

Russia had earlier in the week blamed the US for trying to destabilize Venezuela by recognizing a parliamentarian and president of the National Assembly Juan Guaido as the unelected president of the country.

On Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that there were Russian specialists in Venezuela in tandem with a bilateral inter-governmental agreement on military-technical cooperation between the two countries.

She said the specialists would stay there as long as the Venezuelan government needed them.

US President Donald Trump, on the other hand, bluntly told the Russian to “get out” of Venezuela during his meeting with Guaido’s wife at the White House.

In a phone call with Maduro on January 24, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed support for the Venezuelan government and blamed the internal political crisis as being provoked by “destructive external interference”.

Venezuela is now in one of the worst economic crises in the history of Latin America.

In just the past year, food protests have increased exponentially as prices skyrocketed. The crime rate has soared with violent robberies taking place including hundreds of looting incidents.

Venezuelans now face multiple daily power outages while businesses shut down and factory output drops significantly.

Even for those who can afford to buy food, staple scarcity has become a major challenge for the government.

Venezuela has been unable to sufficiently import its most basic needs as the drastic drop in oil prices since 2014 has created an enormous financial shortfall. Oil revenues have fallen from nearly $90 billion to about $20 billion as foreign debt has mushroomed to $140 billion or so.

The opposition, led by Guaido, has blamed the leftist government for failed economic policies which they say brought the country to ruin.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies