Published: Tue, June 04, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Contradicting Trump, Russia Says Its Military Personnel Are Still In Venezuela

Contradicting Trump, Russia Says Its Military Personnel Are Still In Venezuela

President Donald Trump said on Monday that Russian Federation told the United States it had removed "most of their people" from Venezuela, where Moscow has maintained military and economic ties with socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

"Russia has informed us that they have removed most of their people from Venezuela", Trump tweeted.

The Kremlin on Tuesday denied having told the United States that it was pulling personnel out of Venezuela, contradicting a Twitter posting a day earlier by President Trump.

Russian Federation has withdrawn key defense advisers from Venezuela, an embarrassment for President Nicolás Maduro as Moscow weighs the leader's political and economic resilience against growing USA pressure.

Mr. Trump's assertion - if true - would represent a significant development in the political showdown in Venezuela, where the government of Nicolás Maduro has embraced the support of Russian Federation and other USA adversaries like Cuba and China to fend off a leadership challenge by National Assembly President Juan Guaidó.

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"As for technical specialists, they periodically arrive in the country for the fix and maintenance of previously supplied equipment".

Russian arms manufacturers are withdrawing from Venezuela over long-outstanding payments for military hardware and services, a source close to the Russian Defense Ministry told the Telegraph on Monday. "For example, we have recently completed technical maintenance of a batch of aircraft". However, aside from sanctioning key members of Maduro's administration and government-controlled industries, the Trump administration does not appear to have a plan for how to effectively remove Maduro from power or encourage Venezuela's leadership to hold new elections.

Most other Western countries also support Guaido, who invoked the constitution in January to assume the interim presidency, arguing that Maduro's 2018 re-election was illegitimate.

This comes amid a major power struggle in Venezuela as interim President Juan Guido continues to fight for an uprising, which Russian Federation has long opposed.

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