05:38 GMT21 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov refuted on Tuesday claims about a boost of Russian military presence in Venezuela, stressing that Russian military had arrived in the country to provide scheduled technical maintenance of the previously delivered equipment.

    "Scheduled work is underway. This has nothing to do with an increase in our presence there. In fact, this is not even about presence, but about fulfilling service contracts. There is a need to provide maintenance of the equipment, cars undergo maintenance, and equipment, especially sophisticated equipment, cannot function without maintenance. Everything goes in a routine mode", Ryabkov said at a meeting of the upper house of the Russian parliament.

    The statement comes after media reports said on Monday that an aircraft of the Russian Air Force had landed in Venezuela, sparking claims about Russia's alleged plans to increase military presence in the Latin American country.

    Russia was among the countries that supported the Venezuelan government earlier this year after US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself the Interim President of the Latin American state. Moscow has also sent military specialists in Venezuela under contracts for the supply of Russian-made weapons systems.


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    Venezuela, Russia
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