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USA planning 'military invasion' in Venezuela, claims Russia


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In the wake of the political crisis ensuing in Venezuela, Russia has claimed that the United States is planning a "military invasion" in the Latin American nation.
"By showing sarcasm and arrogance towards the Venezuelan people, the United States is preparing a military invasion on an independent state," Nikolai Patrushev, the Russian Security Council Secretary, told Sputnik.
"The transfer of American special forces to Puerto Rico, the landing of US forces in Colombia and other facts clearly indicate that the Pentagon is reinforcing the grouping of troops in the region in order to overthrow the lawfully elected incumbent President (Nicolas) Maduro," he added.
Patrushev's comments come in the wake of the now culminated Lima Group talks in Colombia. Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, United States Vice President Mike Pence and Colombian President Ivan Duque held a meeting, where Pence expressed the US' "100%" support for Guaido, underlining that Maduro "must go".
"The Venezuelan people understand this well. Hence, such a reaction, the refusal to accept cargo from the aggressor country and the support of their President," Patrushev said.
Violent clashes had broken out in Venezuelan border towns near Brazil and Colombia on Saturday when a group of Guaido's supporters tried bringing in aid - which has been blocked by Maduro - into Venezuela. Since then, Guaido has claimed that aid has, in fact, reached the South American nation, outlining the people's rejection of Maduro's leadership.
Venezuela has been in the throes of a political turmoil ever since Guaido proclaimed himself as the President of the nation on January 23. Protesters have called for Maduro's resignation, while a few international countries like France, Japan, Germany, amongst others, have called for fresh elections to be held in the nation. With no new elections announced, Maduro has time and again reiterated his intention of not stepping down.
The embattled President currently enjoys the Venezuelan military's allegiance, with reports claiming that there are over 320 servicemen who have defected to Colombia in recent days.

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First Published: Feb 27 2019 | 2:38 AM IST

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