US warns it will not 'stand idly by' and accuses Russia of 'exacerbating tensions in Venezuela'

Mail Online | 3/25/2019 | Afp;Jessica Green For Mailonline
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The United States on Monday accused Russia of worsening tensions over Venezuela through its military presence and warned that Washington will not 'stand idly'.

It comes after two Russian air force planes landed at the South American country's main airport on Saturday carrying a defense official and nearly 100 troops, according to media reports.

Secretary - State - Mike - Pompeo - Russian

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a phone call that 'the United States and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela,' the State Department said in a statement.

A flight-tracking website showed that two planes left from a Russian military airport bound for Caracas on Friday, and another flight-tracking site showed that one plane left Caracas on Sunday.

State - Department - Statement - Arrival - Passenger

The State Department statement did not refer to the arrival of the Russian passenger jet and a military cargo plane, although it condemned Russian military support for the ‘illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro.’

During the call with Lavrov, Pompeo urged Moscow to join the United States and regional countries in backing opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Russia - United - States - Neighbors - Intervention

Russia has warned the United States and neighbors against a military intervention in Venezuela.

Earlier this year the two nations held military exercises on Venezuelan soil that President Nicolas Maduro called a sign of strengthening relations, but which Washington criticized as Russian encroachment in the region.

Reporter - Javier - Mayorca - Twitter - Saturday

Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material.

An Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left for...
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