05:41 GMT14 August 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that Russia is present in Latin America because it seeks to gain proximity to the south-east of the United States and conduct cyber operations that Moscow cannot do without such physical presence.

    "They are here in Latin America because they want both, proximity, so some of what they do in Cuba and what they do in Venezuela gives them access to the American south-east and allows them to operate their ships, vessels, aircraft… so it gives them logistical hubs," Pompeo said. "It also gives them space from which to conduct cyber operations, that is, they have access to networks they cannot access from other places in the world."

    READ MORE: US, Brazilian Vice Presidents Talk Efforts to Oust Venezuela's Maduro — Report

    Pompeo in his remarks before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee also said the threat of Russia’s physical presence in Latin America is "very real."

    "That is why it is so important that the Venezuelan people are successful in overthrowing [President Nicolas] Maduro," Pompeo added.

    Earlier on Wednesday, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said the United States should stop interfering in Venezuela and in other states and should let the people determine their own future.

    Russian officials have repeatedly said Moscow does not interfere in other nations’ affairs, but developing economic and other ties with countries is its sovereign right.

    Russia, together with China, Bolivia, Turkey and numerous other nations, recognises Maduro as Venezuela’s only legitimate leader. The United States and its allies recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself interim president of Venezuela on 23 January.


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    cyberattacks, United Nations, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Juan Guaido, Vassily Nebenzia, Mike Pompeo, Nicolas Maduro, United States, Venezuela
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