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More Russian troops possible in Venezuela


Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Minister Ivan Gil on Thursday said there could be more Russian military personnel arriving in Venezuela, according to Reuters, citing news agency Interfax.

The Venezuelan officials also said that Russian forces would stay in Venezuela for as long as necessary.

“The group of military specialists is [in Venezuela] in the context of our agreements and contracts for military-technical cooperation,” Gil said, according to the news service.

The Russian presence in Venezuela has led to heightened tensions between Russia and the U.S.

Russia backs Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro as the country's leader while the U.S. has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the nation’s interim president. Relations grew even more strained with the revelation in late March that Russia had sent 100 military specialists to the South American nation.

On Saturday, White House national security adviser John Bolton said Russia sending military forces and equipment to Venezuela would constitute a “direct threat to security in the region.”

"We will consider such provocative actions as a direct threat to international peace and security in the region. We will continue to defend and protect the interests of the United States, and those of our partners in the Western Hemisphere," Bolton said.

President Trump, meanwhile, has said the Kremlin “has to get out” of Venezuela. Russian officials have responded by accusing the U.S. of trying to foment a coup and said that Russia is not the nation “changing the balance of power in the region.”

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