Tue, 23 Jul 2019

Moscow [Russia], July 11 (ANI): Russia on Thursday said its military equipment will be part of military drills in Venezuela scheduled for July 24.

"Weapons and military equipment that are currently present in Venezuela and that the National Bolivarian Armed Forces use is mostly Russia-made. So, it just cannot be otherwise. I don't know if they have purchased any kinds of equipment in other countries, but the army is equipped with our weapons to a significant extent, so it will be used as well," Sputnik quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying.

Russia has been accused of fuelling tensions in the South American nation and providing military aid to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Ryabkov also noted that there are almost no Russian military experts in Venezuela right now.

"A rotation has taken place. As I see it, the presence of our personnel there is close to zero. However, this does not mean that it will not appear there when the need may arise to maintain the equipment", he said.

Representatives of both the Maduro government and the opposition have held several rounds of talks, mediated by Norway. However, no agreement has been reached so far.

Venezuela has been in the throes of a political crisis since January this year when National Assembly leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself as the interim President of the nation amid protests against Maduro.

The US immediately extended support to Guaido, calling for Maduro to either step down or hold fresh elections. Maduro has, however, stuck to his post while claiming to have the Venezuelan military's support.

Countries like Russia, Turkey, and China have backed Maduro's claim while slamming the US for its external interference in the oil-rich country. (ANI)

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