Moscow accuses Trump of sending special forces to Venezuela and calls push to deliver aid ‘a convenient pretext for military action’ as crisis approaches boiling point…(Never Had A Cold Last This Long!)

Friday, February 22, 2019
By Paul Martin

Kremlin accused US of deploying special forces and equipment near Venezuela
Foreign Ministry said Washington was instigating a ‘dangerous provocation’
Comes as opposition leader Juan Guaido plans to bring in US aid tomorrow
But Moscow says clashes could provide ‘a convenient pretext for conducting military action’

22 February 2019

Russia has accused the US of using aid deliveries to Venezuela as a ploy to carry out military action against President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

The Kremlin’s Foreign Ministry said America had deployed special forces and equipment near the South American nation and accused Washington of a ‘dangerous provocation’.

Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova pointed to efforts by opposition leader Juan Guaido’s planned bid tomorrow to pick up US aid being stockpiled on the Colombian border.

Guaido’s intentions to bring the supplies across the border are aimed at provoking clashes, she said, to provide ‘a convenient pretext for conducting military action’.

Russia is a key supporter of Maduro’s government and has repeatedly accused Washington of trying to carry out a coup in Venezuela.

Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Minister Ivan Gil said at a meeting in the upper chamber of the Russian parliament on Friday that Maduro is ‘constantly in touch’ with President Vladimir Putin on the phone.

He thanked Russia for a recent shipment of medicine but reiterated the government stance that there is no humanitarian crisis in the South American country.

On Thursday, Guaido set out in a convoy to collect US-supplied food and medicine stockpiled in Colombia, vowing to bring in the aid by Saturday.

Maduro has closed the border with Brazil to prevent the entry of aid and the military has beefed up security at the Colombian border.

Zakharova alleged that the US had moved special forces and military equipment ‘closer to Venezuelan territory’ and was considering large-scale weapons purchases to arm the opposition.

Noting that it had been five years since the Ukrainian revolution that ousted a Russian-backed leader – which Moscow has accused the US of orchestrating – Zakharova said Washington was preparing for more regime change in Venezuela.

‘It seems that in Washington there is nothing to mark the fifth anniversary of the coup d’etat in Ukraine, so they decided to hold a new coup d’etat,’ she said.

She warned that a US military intervention in Venezuela would lead to a ‘sharp increase in tensions’ around the world.

Shipments of food and medicine for Venezuelans suffering in the country’s economic crisis have become a focus of the power struggle between Maduro and Guaido.

Maduro has said Russia was providing 300 tonnes of aid but Moscow has not provided details.

Russian news agencies reported that Venezuela’s Minister of Industries and National Production Tareck El Aissami would visit Moscow on Friday to meet with Russian officials.

A source quoted by the Interfax news agency said talks would focus on ‘cooperation in trade and the economy’.

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