CARACAS – The Russian Defense Ministry has sent An-124 military transport aircraft, IL-62M jet airliner and more than 100 troops to Caracas, against the backdrop of growing tensions between Venezuela and the United States.
Citing its sources, the Defence Blog reported that Chief of the General Staff of the Ground Forces Col. Gen. Vasily Tonkoshkurov also arrived with the Russian troops.
Reports suggest the cargo plane arrived in Venezuela from Moscow through Syria.
— CNW (@ConflictsW) March 23, 2019
Growing discontent in Venezuela, fuelled by hyperinflation, power cuts and food and medicine shortages, has led to a political crisis.
Opposition leader Juan Guaidó has declared himself interim president following large protests, galvanising opponents of current socialist President Nicolás Maduro.
Mr. Guaidó has been recognized as leader by more than 50 countries, including most in Latin America and the United States. Mr. Maduro, who still has the support of China and Russia, accuses the opposition of being part of a US-orchestrated coup.
At least 40 people are believed to have died since 21 January and the UN has warned that the situation could spiral out of control.
More than three million Venezuelans have fled their country over recent years, blaming hunger, lack of medical care, rising unemployment and violent crime.
Defence Blog reports the emergence of a large number of the Russian military is the desire of Moscow to show their determination to Trump administration. Moreover, it quoted some sources as saying that a new Russian military base may appear in Venezuela in the near future.