MOSCOW, December 11. /TASS/. The Kremlin believes that US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s statements about Russia’s Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers sent to Venezuela are inappropriate and undiplomatic, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"It certainly is rather undiplomatic," he said, commenting on Pompeo’s statements. "We consider this statement to be totally inappropriate," Peskov added.
He pointed out that US President Donald Trump also could evaluate those statements.
"Perhaps, an evaluation of Mr. Pompeo’s undiplomatic statements will follow in the future," the Kremlin spokesman said.
He noted that Moscow did not agree with Pompeo who had said that the mission was a misuse of public funds. "Moreover, it is not appropriate for a country half of whose defense expenditure would be enough to feed all of Africa’s people to make such statements," Peskov said. According to him, Russia continues to search for ways to build constructive relations with the United States and expects Washington to respond in kind.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday that two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers, an Antonov An-124 military transport plane and an Ilyushin Il-62 long-range aircraft had arrived in Venezuela. The ministry pointed out that the aircraft had covered a distance of 10,000 kilometers and flew over the Atlantic Ocean, the Barents, Norwegian and Caribbean Seas in strict compliance with international rules of the use of airspace.
This is not the first such flight performed by Russia’s Tu-160 warplanes as they flew to Venezuela in September 2008 and in October-November 2013. Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said that the Russian aircraft would participate in joint flights with Venezuelan planes.
"Russia's government has sent bombers halfway around the world to Venezuela. The Russian and Venezuelan people should see this for what it is: two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer," Pompeo wrote on Twitter later.