According to multiple reports, two Russian cargo aircraft have landed at Maiquetia Airport in Venezuela earlier in the weekend and disembarked 100 troops, along with senior military official General Vasily Tonkoshkurov. A limited amount of equipment was offloaded as well. At least one of the aircraft has departed the country already.
This move comes as the United States has raised pressure on Nicolas Maduro and Venezuela’s government in recent weeks. Economic sanctions unleashed by the Trump administration continue to bite the Venezuelan economy and will only get worse as time goes on. In late April a US ban on crude imports from Venezuela will go into effect. This could very well be a death blow to the Maduro government’s finances.
The arrival of Russian troops in Venezuela is a direct jab at the United States. Even though 100 troops hardly constitutes an invasion, the United States will have to respond to their presence in some way. Given that the Trump administration has repeatedly said all options remain “on the table” for dealing with Venezuela, the prospect of US military action against Maduro’s government is low for the time being. Still, the presence of Russian troops in Venezuela will alarm the US military.
This is how Russia’s intervention in Syria began. A small number of troops arriving in country, followed by a gradual, but increasing flow of additional aircraft, men, and material. A large Russian military presence in the Western Hemisphere will not be tolerated by the United States. I’ll discuss this more in the coming days. Apologies for keeping this short and not posting since Wednesday. March Madness is underway and I’ve been watching every game. Four days of round-the-clock basketball. 😊