UPDATED 9:02 AM PT — Monday, March 25, 2019
As the political crisis continues in Venezuela, Russia is stepping up their presence in the region. Two Russian Air Force planes, with nearly 100 troops and a Russian defense official, landed in Caracas on Sunday.
This comes after Russia’s speaker of the upper house of Parliament said they will do everything possible to prevent U.S. military intervention in Venezuela.
“We are very much concerned that the U.S. could carry out any provocations to shed blood, to find a cause and reasons for an intervention in Venezuela, but we will do all in order not to allow this,” stated Valentina Matviyenko, chairwoman of the Federation Council.
Recent high-level U.S.-Russia talks on how to defuse the crisis ended with the two sides still at odds over the legitimacy of President Nicolas Maduro. Along with differences on who’s leading the nation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Russia is defying U.S. sanctions by buying oil from Venezuela.
“Russia’s state-owned oil company, Rosneft, continues to purchase crude oil cargoes from PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, in defiance of U.S. sanctions,” explained Pompeo. “And Rosneft’s CEO, Igor Sechin, continues to throw a lifeline to the regime.”
Embattled President Maduro is also stepping up his attacks against the Trump administration.
“Donald Trump believes that he is superior to the rest of the world, and believes that people like him should rule the world and rule the people from all continents according to their designs and interests,” stated Maduro. “There is a neo-Nazi current that governs the White House.”
President Trump has warned of more sanctions, and is leaving the door open for other ways to topple Maduro’s grasp.
“As I said all options are open, I think of all possibilities – all options are open,” said the president.