An airplane with the Russian flag is seen at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela on Monday. Manaure Quintero/ Reuters
A Russian air force plane that landed in Venezuela is there to service Russian military equipment already in the country, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Tuesday, according to the Interfax news agency.
The plane landed on Monday in Venezuela’s main airport, according to a Reuters witness and a website that tracks plane movements, three months after a similar arrival exacerbated tensions between Washington and Moscow.
“From all points of view this cooperation is transparent,” Ryabkov said in quotes carried by Interfax. “It does not have any elements of destabilisation of the region or any other situation.”
US President Donald Trump in March ordered Russia to remove all troops from Venezuela, while Russia’s foreign ministry said the planes that landed there at the time were only carrying specialists who were servicing arms sales contracts.
Russia has backed President Nicolas Maduro, while the United States and most other Western countries support opposition leader Juan Guaido. In January, Guaido invoked the constitution to assume Venezuela’s interim presidency, arguing that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate.
President Donald Trump said he held “very positive” talks on Friday with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the crisis in oil-rich Venezuela, where Washington is pushing to oust the Moscow-backed president.
For months, hawkish Florida Republicans have dominated the narrative on Venezuela, meeting with President Donald Trump days before the US recognised Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate leader and arguing that the president sees the situation in Venezuela differently than his “America First” desire to pull US troops out of Syria.
Court action could come as soon as on Thursday or Friday, with the Democrats’ determination pointing to many more months of digging by lawmakers into Trump,
Malaysia’s King Sultan Abdullah will not be granting an audience to anyone for a week as he is under observation at a hospital, a palace official said on Friday, as opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim seeks a meeting with him to form a new government.
South Korea says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has apologised over the killing of a South Korea official. South Korea’s presidential office said on Friday that Kim conveyed an apology in a message to South Korea.
The hashtag #RepublicofThailand trended on Twitter in Thailand on Friday after parliament voted to push back the question of changing the constitution as protesters have demanded.
France has dismissed this week’s dire British warnings about post-Brexit transport delays across the Channel as tactical posturing, the Financial Times reported on Friday. “Of course the signals that have been sent in the past few days are damaging,”