Pompeo: US Will Not ‘Stand Idly’ as Russia Escalates Venezuela Tensions
25 March 2019, 18:54
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned his Russian counterpart Monday that the United States will not “stand idly” as Russia escalates political tensions in Venezuela, VOA reports.
“The continued insertion of Russian military personnel to support the illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela risks prolonging the suffering of the Venezuelan people who overwhelmingly support interim President Juan Guaido,” a State Department readout of the call between Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Venezuelan and Russian media reported that two Russian air force planes landed in the capital city of Caracas Monday, carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops.
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 last year.
“The Secretary called on Russia to cease its unconstructive behavior and join other nations, including the overwhelming majority of countries in the Western Hemisphere, who seek a better future for the Venezuelan people,” the readout continued.
Last week, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence condemned the arrest of Guaido’s chief of staff in an op-ed for the Miami Herald, and called out Russia, as well as Cuba and China, for supporting and benefiting from the embattled leader, Maduro.