Russian Air Force Planes Land In Venezuela Carrying Troops

People wearing El Universal newspaper uniforms sit inside a darkened office building during a power outage in Caracas Venezuela Monday

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Russia to "cease its unconstructive behavior" by supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a phone call with his Russian counterpart, the State Department said on Monday. The Russian state oil firm Rosneft also holds a 49.9 percent stake in the Venezuelan-owned, USA -based refinery Citgo following a $1.5 billion loan from the Russian company.

The British outlet states that the Russian planes arrived in Venezuela three months after the two countries held joint military exercises.

Russian Federation says it is concerned that the U.S.is considering military intervention in Venezuela.

Background: The Russian government has long regarded Venezuela as a Latin American ally that it can use to increase strategic pressure on the United States.

The government of Vladimir Putin is one of the crisis-hit Venezuelan government's strongest backers, having provided billions of dollars in credit to the South American country in recent years.

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According to media reports, planes with the Russian military personnel arrived in Caracas on Saturday, while a diplomatic source told Sputnik the visit was linked to the contracts, including defense ones.

Russian Federation and Venezuela have maintained a close relationship since the administration of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and the two countries remain significant trading partners, particularly for the vast oil resources Moscow needs. This money is being confiscated at the request of the [US President Donald] Trump administration.

The Russian move may stymie, or at least slow, USA efforts to change the Venezuelan government, but proponents of war and military action are still pushing forward with their plans. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).

Last week, US and Russian officials met in Rome to discuss Venezuela but remained split on how to resolve the crisis. Today my bill, the Russia-Venezuelan Threat Mitigation Act, goes to the House floor, requiring a State Department threat assessment of Russian influence in Venezuela. "They also want to deplete the peaceful options at the disposal of the US -led global effort to promote change in Venezuela and then dare them to contemplate the worst option: military intervention".

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