UPDATED 8:02 AM PT — Friday, March 29, 2019
Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is facing accusations he is buying support from Russia. Self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido launched the accusation on Thursday, while speaking to a crowd of supporters.
According to Guaido, Maduro is paying Russian troops in gold for their presence in the country. He said Maduro is trying to rally support from his diminishing allies in the Venezuelan military by boasting about his international support from Russia.
“Russia’s military presence is to make that small group of troops who still support Maduro believe, and I’ll repeat it again so that it’s clear — ‘Look, look, we have the support of the Russians!’ — that’s a lie!” said Guaido. “They had to pay ahead, because they have a reputation for not paying.”
Russia has since responded to the accusation by saying their presence in Venezuela is not political.
The Kremlin claimed it has military specialists in the country to serve out a preexisting weapons agreement with the Maduro regime.