CARACAS – Russian war materials will participate in military exercises in Venezuela, scheduled to begin on July 24, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov announced.
“For the most part, the armament and military equipment that are in Venezuela and used by the Army from a country are of Russian manufacture, so [the exercises] can not be carried out in any other way. I do not know if there are any types of armament they have acquired in other countries, but, for the most part, the [Venezuelan] Army is equipped with our armament, so it will also be used,” Sergei Ryabkov said.
When asked about the number of Russian military specialists who carry out the technical maintenance of the Russian material in Venezuela, the diplomat replied that “there was a rotation” and that at the moment “there are practically no Russian personnel” in the South American country.
“But this does not mean that they can not go there [Venezuela] when it becomes necessary to maintain the equipment,” Ryabkov said.
The deputy minister pointed out that “all this fits into the contracts” signed between the two countries, is not a decision of the high military command or the political leadership of Russia.
“It’s very strange that it raises so much attention that it’s artificially blown up,” he added.
Yesterday, Ryabkov, who will visit Venezuela between the 20th and 22nd of this month, said that Moscow does not see any hidden signals in the military exercises of Venezuela.
On July 5, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced that on July 24 military exercises will be held to celebrate the proclamation of Venezuela’s independence and to defend the coast and Venezuelan borders.
Meanwhile, Russia is ready to increase the number of military specialists in Venezuela to fulfill contractual obligations if necessary, a senior representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry said last month.
Aleksandr Schetinin, head of the Latin American Department of Russian MRE, said on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum in St Petersburg that Russia stands ready to expand the presence of military specialists in Venezuela.
“If we need more, we will send more [military specialists], as much as it takes,” said the Russian diplomat.
“If the quantity [present in Venezuela] is not necessary, they will all come back. This is an absolutely technical issue related to the fulfillment of specific contracts to execute a specific volume of work,” he said.
Aleksandr Schetinin announced a new supply of humanitarian aid to the Caribbean country and recalled the new phase of the talks in Oslo between Venezuelan opposition representatives and the government.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin reported that Russia has officially supplied military supplies to Venezuela and now the maintenance of the equipment provided must be carried out.
Earlier Russia’s ambassador to Venezuela, Vladimir Zaemsky, said there was no talk of downsizing in the country. In addition, he stressed that the maintenance of the equipment was being carried out in accordance with the obligations of Russia and Venezuela.