United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a telephone conversation with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov about the arrival of Russian army personnel and equipment in Venezuela over the weekend.
According to a statement shared by the United States Department of State, Pompeo told Lavrov that the United States and its regional partners would “not stand idly” while Russia interfered with Venezuelan affairs, and that the Kremlin’s cations “[risk] prolonging the suffering of the Venezuelan people”.
Below, the statement from the Department of State:
The phone call comes just two days after Twitter users shared news that two Russian aircraft had landed at the Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maiquetia, just north of Caracas, this past Saturday.
In the tweets below, @FedericoBlackB shared the images of the two airplanes. Some of the images show what appear to be a group of army personnel who have just come off one of the planes:
The Russian state-owned Sputnik news agency confirmed the arrival of the soldiers and equipment in an article published today.
Citing sources at the Russian embassy in Caracas, Sputnik reports that the airplanes transported military equipment and personnel as part of an unnamed cooperation agreement between Moscow and Caracas.
According to the embassy source, the flights are not at all “mysterious” because they took part as a result of agreements that have existed between the two countries for several years.
News of the arrival of the Russian airplanes created a stir on social media given the heightened tension in the region.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio reacted to news of the Russian movements in the following way:
New Outage Affecting 50%+ of the Country
Netblocks is reporting this afternoon that a new power outage has plunged more than half of the country into darkness this afternoon:
National news outlets began to report news of the outage–which at first appeared localized to Vargas and Miranda states, as well as Caracas–in the early afternoon.
By the evening, however, the blackout was affecting most of the country:
Today’s outage follows the unprecedented blackout that started on the afternoon of March 7 and knocked out power to virtually all of the country for several days. Despite repeated assertions from the government that the blackout was caused by “cybernetic” and “electromagnetic” attacks against the country’s electrical grid, experts agree that a fire near transmission lines a the Guri hydroelectric plant was the likely cause of the event.
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