Russian air force plane reportedly lands in Venezuela

Reuters | Published: June 25, 2019 10:00:08 | Updated: July 10, 2019 15:35:21

An airplane with the Russian flag is seen at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela on June 24, 2019 — Reuters photo

A Russian air force plane landed in Venezuela’s main airport on Monday (local time), according to a Reuters witness and a website that tracks plane movements, three months after a similar arrival spurred a war of words between Washington and Moscow.

Two Russian air force planes landed in Venezuela in March carrying Russian defence officials and 100 troops, leading the United States to accuse Russia of “reckless escalation” of the situation in the struggling South American nation.

An Ilyushin 62 jet with tail number RA-86496 was parked at Maiquetia International Airport on Monday, according to the witness.

That tail number is registered to a Russian Air Force jet, according to website Flightradar24, and matches the tail number of the plane that arrived in March.

US President Donald Trump in March ordered Russia to remove all troops from Venezuela, while Russia’s foreign ministry said the planes were only carrying specialists who were servicing arms sales contracts.

Venezuela’s information ministry and Russia’s defence ministry did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

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