MOSCOW – On Tuesday, Sergei Ryabkov, deputy foreign minister of Russia, stated that Russia does not intend to increase its presence in Venezuela.
The Russian military has arrived in Venezuela to carry out technical maintenance of military equipment that was previously supplied, Ryabkov said.
“We are doing a planned work that does not aim to increase our presence there,” Tyabkov said.
“To be rigorous, this is not even a presence, but only compliance with existing maintenance contracts. This equipment, especially the complex, would not work. All of this is routine work,” he said in the Federation Council (upper house of the Russian parliament).
The Russian vice chancellor said that the Russian aircraft arrived in Venezuela to continue the maintenance work on the equipment that was previously provided under military technical cooperation contracts.
He added that the contracts between Russia and Venezuela in the field of military technical cooperation are transparent from all points of view and do not contain any elements that could destabilize the regional situation.
“Attempts to speculate on this issue are dishonest. It is the continuation of the ordinary work of maintaining the Russian-made equipment and war material that was previously supplied to Venezuela under existing contracts,” he said.
In addition, he stated that there is nothing additional occurring in terms of increasing Russia’s military presence in Venezuela.
Earlier this month, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, called for Washington to renounce its plans to polarize the Venezuelan military.
“We ask them to abandon their actions aimed at dividing the Venezuelan Armed Forces, this institution must defend the constitutional order and not participate in domestic politics,” said Zakharova.
During the weekly press conference, the diplomat also condemned the new sanctions of the United States against Cuba.
“These actions, in the first place, affect the interests of ordinary citizens, depriving them of their fundamental rights and freedoms, which Washington seems to defend with such zeal,” the spokesman said.
Venezuela is facing political crisis, which was aggravated on January 23 with the self-proclamation of Juan Guaidó as interim president of the country. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who took office on January 10 after a legitimate election, called Guaidó’s statement a coup attempt and blamed the United States for orchestrating it.
Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, Iran, Turkey and other countries support Maduro’s government. Moscow described Guaido’s “presidential status” as nonexistent. On the other hand, the European Union, USA and most Latin American countries, including Brazil, support Guaidó.