President Donald Trump said on Monday that Russia has informed the United States that it has removed most of their people from Venezuela.
Trump tweeted: “Russia has informed us that they have removed most of their people from Venezuela.”
“Russia has withdrawn key defense advisers from Venezuela, an embarrassment for President Nicolás Maduro as Moscow weighs the leader’s political and economic resilience against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 U.S. pressure,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “Russian state defense contractor Rostec, which has trained Venezuelan troops and advised on securing arms contracts, has cut its staff in Venezuela to just a few dozen from about 1,000 at the height of cooperation between Moscow and Caracas several years ago, said a person close to the Russian defense ministry.”
Venezuela has been one of the largest buyers of Russian military equipment for well over a decade, as they had a $10 billion contract with Russia.
“The arms trade is inherently political but Russia will generally sell arms to any nation that can afford them – in the past four years, however, Venezuela has struggled to meet its payment obligations,” The Telegraph reported. “Rostec has been moving its people out of Venezuela in the past four months after realizing that the funds have dried up, the source said.”
Vladimir Zaemskiy, Russia’s longtime ambassador to Venezuela, noted how the relationship between Venezuela and Russia had grown over the years in terms of the weapons that were sold to the failed South American socialist country.
“This cooperation has grown a lot,” Zaemskiy said. “Among other things, Venezuela has bought assault rifles, multiuse aircraft, helicopters from the Mi-17, Mi-35 and Mi-26 models, T-72 tanks, as well as various anti-aerial defense systems.”
The Hill noted that both National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have “repeatedly blamed Russia and Cuba for propping up Maduro’s government.”
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