A senior Russian official claims the United States is preparing for a military invasion of Venezuela, as the Trump administration steps up its efforts to remove the Maduro regime from power.
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said in remarks on Tuesday that the U.S.’s decision to deploy military forces to Puerto Rico and Colombia was a sign they are soon preparing to remove Maduro by force.
“By showing sarcasm and arrogance towards the Venezuelan people, the United States is preparing a military invasion on an independent state,” he said. “The transfer of American special forces to Puerto Rico, the landing of US forces in Colombia and other facts clearly indicate that the Pentagon is reinforcing the grouping of troops in the region in order to overthrow the lawfully elected incumbent president [Nicolas] Maduro.”
Patrushev also appeared to back the repression used by state security forces over the weekend, after four protesters were killed and a further 300 were injured as they attempted to force through U.S. humanitarian aid into the crisis-stricken country.
“The Venezuelan people understand this well,” he added. “Hence, such a reaction, the refusal to accept cargo from the aggressor country and the support of their president.”
Nicolás Maduro and his oppressive regime turn the arrival of life-saving aid for Venezuelans into a clash of violence. Read @SecPompeo's statement on letting humanitarian aid into Venezuela: https://t.co/ZmX6AmUEHc #EstamosUnidosVE pic.twitter.com/A1QQxFnFKA
— Department of State (@StateDept) February 24, 2019
Last week, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova alleged that the Kremlin had received intelligence indicating that Washington is considering the purchase of high-grade military equipment for the Venezuelan opposition.
“We have information that companies from the US and its NATO allies are considering the possibility of buying a large batch of weapons in one of the Eastern European countries in order to provide them to the Venezuelan opposition,” she said.
Tensions between Washington and Moscow over the crisis in Venezuela have risen over the past month, as the U.S. and the majority of Latin American nations rally behind interim President Juan Guaidó.
The White House has yet to respond to such allegations, although Trump and other officials have repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility of military intervention, insisting “all options are on the table” for ending the crisis.
Meanwhile, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has offered his full backing to the socialist dictatorship, providing Maduro’s regime with crucial financial and military support and even a private security detail for Maduro and his associates.
Maduro also announced last week that Russia would send its own aid package directly to Caracas, despite the fact he denies the existence of any economic or humanitarian crisis under his leadership.
Various reports indicate there remains a growing concern in Moscow that the regime may soon collapse because of a chronic lack of support, an event that would hurt Putin’s ambitions of exerting greater over Latin America and the world as a whole.