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Old 03-25-2019, 04:16 PM
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Arrow Pompeo: US ‘will not stand idly by’ as Russia sends troops and military cargo to Vene

Pompeo: US ‘will not stand idly by’ as Russia sends troops and military cargo to Venezuela
By: Joel Gehrke - Washington Examiner 3-25-19

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Russia during a phone call Monday "to cease its unconstructive behavior" in Venezuela after two Russian aircraft carrying troops and materiel landed in Caracas.

“The United States and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela,” Pompeo told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, according to the State Department. “The continued insertion of Russian military personnel to support the illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela risks prolonging the suffering of the Venezuelan people who overwhelmingly support interim President Juan Guaido.”

A pair of planes, a passenger jet ferrying a senior defense official and about 100 troops and a military jet carrying nearly 40 tons of cargo, left a Russian military base over the weekend, landing in Venezuela after a stop in Syria. Russia has been propping up the Venezuelan dictator in defiance of dozens of Western democratic powers who recognized opposition leader Guaido as the country's legitimate leader in January. Maduro still has the support of the military, despite political protests, food shortages, and an economic crisis that included a power outage in early March that left most of the country without electricity.

Maduro has been accepting Russian military help but has been blocking U.S. humanitarian aid from entering the country. In December, Caracas and Moscow held joint military exercises, with Russia sending two strategic bomber planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

U.S. and Russian officials met in Rome to discuss the impasse last week, but the Kremlin signaled beforehand it didn't expect the talks to be productive.

“It’s very difficult to find any real issue where Russian and U.S. diplomacy could find common ground, given that the positions of Moscow and Washington on the situation in Venezuela are polarized,” Dmitry Rozental, a Latin America expert at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said last week. "Besides, we won’t forget that the conflicting sides — Maduro and the opposition — cannot reach any agreement."

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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