Admiral Craig Faller, head of the U.S. Armed Forces Southern Command, confirmed Tuesday the presence of Russian troops in Venezuela, according to Agencia EFE.
“There are Russian troops and there are Russian defense contractors in Venezuela, supporting Maduro’s regime,” Faller denounced during a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
At the end of March, the Russian government sent two airplanes to Caracas with about 100 soldiers, alleging that they were military specialists who were carrying out maintenance work on equipment supplied to Venezuela.
Washington quickly criticized the maneuver, and National Security Advisor John Bolton called it a “direct threat.”
For his part, President Donald Trump—who has a good relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin—said in June in a tweet that President Putin assured him that he had already withdrawn the majority of his military from Venezuela.
According to the Associated Press, last June President Putin said: “We are not setting up any base or sending troops there, we have never done it. However, we have fulfilled our obligations in the sphere of military and technical cooperation and we will continue to do so.”
During Tuesday’s hearing, Faller declared that Russia is running a disinformation campaign in Latin America, “as in the rest of the world,” aimed at “disorienting” citizens.