RUSSIAN ARMED FORCES reportedly deployed to Venezuela over the weekend as the regime of President Nicolas Maduro continues to face intense pressure from a U.S.-backed political opposition.
Two Russian military planes touched down outside the capital Caracas on Saturday carrying nearly a hundred troops and military staff, and 35 tons of cargo, according to media reports. Russian state news service Sputnik, citing an anonymous source, dismissed the deployment as "nothing mysterious" and said the officials were planning to discuss "defense industry cooperation" with their Venezuelan counterparts.
The escalation raises the likelihood of a standoff between Russia and the U.S. for influence in the strategically significant Latin American power as rumors continue to circulate the Trump administration may escalate its direct involvement there.
It's unclear what was included in the cargo the Russian planes brought. The political crisis in Venezuela in recent months has been defined by intense shortages, and widespread power and communications blackouts.