04:11 GMT28 February 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia is ready to respond to the United States's draft legislation on the former's alleged meddling in Venezuela's affairs with similar measures, Russian Ambassador in Caracas Vladimir Zaemsky said on Friday.

    "If the United States intends to take some measures in accordance with the above-mentioned [draft] legislation, then [Russia], acting on the basis of reciprocity, will have to prepare a tit-for-tat response. These unilateral aggressive steps will not remain without consequences," Zaemsky told the Russian Izvestia newspaper.

    The comment was made after in late March the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill, dubbed the Russian-Venezuelan Threat Mitigation Act, that targeted Russia's alleged influence in the Latin American nation. The document insisted that Russia had an "increased presence in the Western Hemisphere," which constituted a major concern for the United States and its allies in the region. The bill still has to be approved by the Senate and then by President Donald Trump.

    Prior to that, a group of Russian military personnel arrived in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas to take part in talks on defence cooperation with officials. During the consultations, Russia repeatedly stressed that their presence was fully legitimate and in accordance with the defence agreement between Moscow and Caracas. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov later said that their servicemen were helping to carry out maintenance on previously supplied Russian military equipment.

    READ MORE: Sociologist: Guaido Doesn't Have Chance Now of Ousting Maduro

    The political crisis in Venezuela recently entered its third month. The turmoil began in January when US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela’s interim president. Maduro, supported by China and Russia, among others, accused Guaido of plotting to overthrow him with backing from Washington.

    READ MORE: Maduro Says Nontraditional War Being Waged Against Venezuela

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