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Russia in Venezuela: why Vladimir Putin sent troops to support Nicolas Maduro, as Trump's administration returns to Juan Guadio



Moscow – Venezuela is not going to become "the other Syria" for Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Russian-language newspaper in an interview published this week. "We do not have to hide anything," he said in response to a question about what Russian troops are doing in a once-rich South American country.

Two military aircraft carrying about 100 Russian workers arrived in Caracas last week. The influx reported by US officials to CBS News was unusual for its size, causing tensions between Russia and the United States, triggered earlier this year, when two countries chose the opposing sides in the exhausting political crisis in Venezuela.

The United States, together with dozens of other countries, supported the leader of the Venezuelan opposition Juan Guadio. Former leader of the National Assembly declared himself the country's provisional president and called President Nicholas Maduro a "usurper" after a reelection, which is widely believed to be undemocratic. However, Moscow claims that Maduro remains the legitimate leader of the country.

According to US officials, two planets of Russian troops were sent to Caracas to support Maduro. However, the Kremlin claims that they were sent for repair work on military equipment, which Russia supplied Venezuela a few years ago.

  Russia Venezuela
President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro and Russian President Vladimir Putin greet each other outside the residence of Novo-Ogaryovo in Moscow, Russia, on December 5, 2018.

AP


The conversation was aggravated when President Donald Trump ordered Russia to "get out", and the Russian Foreign Ministry rejected that the US should leave Syria in the first place. Russia and the United States also supported various parties in the civil war in Syria, and Russian President Vladimir Putin who is on the move allegedly held the dictator Bashar Assad in power.

On Thursday, Deputy Foreign Minister of Venezuela does not rule out the possibility that more Russian troops may arrive in his country, according to him, existing agreements between the two countries.

Russia has assets in Venezuela and has close ties with the Maduro regime, but defense and foreign affairs analysts consider the latest developments much more like a game of the Kremlin, aimed at promoting the US rather than defending the Venezuelan leader.

"A rigorous confrontation with Washington over Venezuela, according to Kremlin logic, raises Russia's significance in the eyes of the United States," said foreign affairs analyst Volodymyr Frolov, "It is a political theater, and the theater needs proper decoration."

One-way street

Venezuela is Russia's largest partner in Latin America since the early 2000's, Tatiana Rusakova, an analyst from Latin America at the Moscow Center for Crisis Studies, told CBS News she said that these links are largely " a one-way street with a street Khom and are based on the political agenda. "

Russia owns two profitable gas fields not far from the Venezuelan coast through the state oil giant Rosneft.

Moscow also earned $ 11.4 billion for the sale of military equipment to Caracas, and in the present time exports about $ 70- $ 80 million per year to the cost of non-military goods to the country.

All that said, trade with Venezuela is only about 0.01 percent of Russia's foreign trade turnover.

The Kremlin borrowed at least $ 2 billion from Caracas to enable Venezuela to acquire Russian military equipment, while Venezuela still pledged Russia $ 6 billion of total loans worth $ 17 billion that were issued since 2006 a recent Financial Times report.

Venezuelans desperate against power outage, supply shortage

In view of these circumstances, Rusakova said that "will not say that in terms of trade and economy," Venezuela is a significant Russian partner.

Military cooperation

Despite the fact that Venezuela does not involve a large total trade with Russia, in 2006 and 2013 Caracas was one of the four largest buyers of Russian military equipment, and cooperation on this front continues.

Two Russian factories – Venezuela is currently building one that will make a Kalashnikov automatic machine, and another that will produce ammunition for them, – according to the deputy director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, the Moscow Analytical Center for Defense Konstantin Makiyenko.

Makienko, who is also a member of the Defense Council's Defense Council in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament of Russia, reported to CBS News in writing that Moscow also continues to supply parts for equipment sold by Venezuela earlier and carry

the second aspect of bilateral military cooperation has intensified lately, Makiyenko noted.

Russian military also provide military guidance and consultations to Venezuela.

"A group of Russian servicemen who arrived (last week) consults Venezuelan troops (military action) in the event that the United States or someone else carries out military intervention," Makiyenko said.

But another analyst says that these consultations are likely to be a measure of Russia's military involvement – there is no incentive for Russian troops to go for Maduro or fight for him.

"Venezuela" is Russia's military ally, as, say, Belarus or Kazakhstan, "said CBS News Director Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Strategic and Technology Analysis.

t Another possibility – like Syria – to portray itself as a force to be reckoned with – a force capable of keeping American power under control, according to analyst Frolov.

"The strategy to confront the United States, wherever it may be, can be done at a reasonable price, is based on the Kremlin's idea of ​​a new world in which the United States no longer has the freedom to overthrow the regimes because Russia stopped it," he said. 19659003] Venezuela is ideally suited to the profile, since the undermining of the Washington agenda does not require too much resources and gives an opportunity to react to the 2014 US-led revolution in Ukraine, the Kremlin believes the revolution was organized and organized by the United States.

"Logic … this is what we can do and your life is even more difficult in your yard, just like you in ours, "said Frolov.


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