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Russia will facilitate development of Venezuela's armed forces, says diplomat

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that "reports concerning Russia’s military presence in Venezuela have been debunked many times"

MOSCOW, July 5. /TASS/. Russia will continue to facilitate the development of Venezuela’s military potential, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Friday.

"We will continue our multifaceted efforts on developing partner relations with brotherly Venezuela. We will continue to implement projects in various areas, to hold events within the existing agreements that would strengthen the military potential of this country’s armed forces," he said. "Reports concerning Russia’s military presence in Venezuela have been debunked many times. I would like to stress once again that this concerns maintenance of equipment delivered there."

Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and speaker of the National Assembly, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital, Caracas, on January 23. On the same day, the United States recognized him as an interim president, and the countries of the Lima Group (excluding Mexico) and the Organization of American States followed suit. Venezuela's incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted the move as an attempted coup and announced cutting diplomatic ties with the United States.

Most European Union member states recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president. Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro.