10 Jul 2019 11:13

Federation Council member denies presence hundreds of Russian troops in Venezuela claimed by U.S. admiral

MOSCOW. July 10 (Interfax) - Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee First Deputy Chairman Vladimir Dzhabarov has denied the allegations of Russian military presence in Venezuela made by Adm. Craig Faller, the Commander of the United States Southern Command.

"This statement is another absurdity. We have sent no one but our military specialists to Venezuela to provide service to hardware consistent with contracts. I do not know what kind of dream this U.S. serviceman has had," Dzhabarov told Interfax on Wednesday.

Faller told the U.S. Senate's Armed Services Committee at Tuesday hearings that "Russia is, in their own words, 'protecting their loyal friend' by propping up the corrupt, illegitimate Maduro regime with loans, technical and military support." Asked to comment Russian President Vladimir Putin's denial of the presence of Russian forces in Venezuela made in his interview with The Financial Times, he said, "There are Russian troops, there are Russian defense contractors, and their presence is in hundreds, in Venezuela. They are supporting the Maduro regime, they are keeping Russian gear operable, they are conducting a full range of the activities that you would expect of a foreign power to do to prop up their puppet regime."

Western media noted in that connection that the admiral's statement contravened the tweet of U.S. President Donald Trump, who said on June 3 during a state visit to the United Kingdom, "Russia has informed us that they have removed most of their people from Venezuela."