11:33 GMT02 July 2020
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    Earlier rumours alleged that a mysterious plane had gone to Caracas either to bring in Russian mercenaries, to evacuate President Maduro or to take $840 million worth of Venezuelan gold.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he is unaware of Moscow's plans to bring Venezuelan gold to Moscow. Rumours alleging Russia had sent a secret plane to take 20 tonnes of Venezuelan gold had been reported by Fox News earlier on Wednesday.

    "Russia is prepared to help resolve the political situation [in Venezuela] in any way possible, without interfering into the country's internal affairs", Peskov was quoted as saying by the Russian media.

    Talking to journalists, Peskov urged them to "be careful with different hoaxes".

    According to the earlier Fox News report, a Nordwind Airlines Boeing 777 allegedly made a trip from Moscow to Caracas, where it was parked "in a private corner of the airport". The report says the plane, capable of carrying some 400 passengers only had its crew onboard.

    The report cites a tweet by an unnamed Venezuelan official who was later identified as a former economist in the country's central bank with ties to the bank's employees. The source alleged that more than $840 million worth of gold has already been prepared for loading onto a plane.

    An image of the Nordwind Airlines plane has been posted by Noticias Venezuela, a local news outlet.

    Other rumours said the plane actually carried mercenaries sent to support President Maduro, but there is no evidence to support those claims, Fox News reported.

    Simon Zerpa, Venezuela's finance minister, denied a Russian plane has been parked at the Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas.

    "I'm going to start bringing Russian and Turkish airplanes every week so everybody gets scared", he joked in an interview for Bloomberg.

    The rumours may have been sparked by an earlier statement from Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak, who said Russia expects Venezuela to have problems servicing the state's debt as a result of the political crisis. The Finance Ministry later issued a statement saying Venezuela is due to make its next payment at the end of March and no changes have been made to the debt agreement.

    Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia "will do everything" within a constitutional framework to support President Maduro.

    "Together with other responsible members of the international community, we will do everything to support President Maduro's legitimate government in upholding the Venezuelan Constitution and employing methods to resolve the crisis that are within the constitutional framework", he said.

    Venezuela is currently facing a political crisis and large anti-government protests. Opposition leader Juan Guaido has declared himself the country's interim president, drawing support from the United States. Russia, along with a number of other nations, continue to recognise Nicolas Maduro, who won the recent national elections, as the only legitimate leader of the country.


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    gold, plane, rumors, NordWind Airlines, Simon Zerpa, Nicolas Maduro, Dmitry Peskov, Russia, Venezuela
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