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LATIN AMERICA | 27-03-2019 12:13

Lima Group concerned by Russian military 'provocation' in Venezuela

Argentina, 12 other Latin American states and Canada condemn arrival of military aircraft in Venezuela and condemn "any provocation or military deployment that threatens peace and security in the region."

In a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry, the Lima Group on Tuesday condemned the presence of Russian military planes in Venezuela as a provocation threatening regional peace.

Argentina, 12 other Latin American states and Canada said they were concerned "over the arrival of two Russian military aircraft" in Venezuela and condemned "any provocation or military deployment that threatens peace and security in the region."

The statement was issued by Argentina's Foreign Ministry.

The body, set up in 2017 to advocate for a regional solution to Venezuela's political and economic crisis, also renewed a call to nations that still maintain friendly ties with "the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro" to help search for a democratic solution.

Russia, which recognises Maduro as leader, sent two planes carrying 100 troops and tons of military equipment to Caracas on Saturday.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó charged that the deployment violates the national Constitution. 

Russia's Foreign Ministry said the deployment was "in strict accordance with the Constitution of that country and with full respect for its legal norms."

The Lima Group – comprising Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Santa Lucia – all recognise Guaidó as interim president.

Russia confirms its military personnel arrived in Venezuela

Russia's Foreign Ministry confirmed Tuesday that its nation's military personnel had arrived in Venezuela and declared they had every right to be there.

The rift between Russia and the United States over how to resolve the crisis in Venezuela has widened following the arrival of Russian military personnel over the weekend.

In Moscow's first comment on the reports of the deployment, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement late on Tuesday that Russia has sent personnel "in strict accordance" with the Venezuelan Constitution and a bilateral agreement on military cooperation.

She did not elaborate on how many troops Russia has sent.

- TIMES/AFP/AP

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