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Region’s reaction to Russian military presence in Venezuela hypocritical, says Caracas

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza reminded that the US remains "threatens countries with the use of force and has the annual military budget of over $700 bln"

CARACAS, March 27. /TASS/. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has deemed the reaction of Latin American countries to the arrival of Russian military aircrafts to Venezuela as hypocritical, he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

"Staggering hypocrisy of regional governments that support the placement of US military bases and personnel and that dare to speak out against the military-technical cooperation between Venezuela and Russia in place since 2001," he wrote.

The foreign minister reminded that the US remains "the only country in the world that used nuclear weapons against civilian population, wages oil wars without UN’s permission, threatens countries with the use of force and has the annual military budget of over $700 bln."

The El Comercio newspaper earlier reported that an Antonov An-124 and an Ilyushin Il-62 aircraft carrying Russian troops and 35 tonnes of cargo arrived in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on March 23. The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) condemned Russia’s military presence in the country.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on Tuesday that Russia is developing cooperation with Venezuela in strict accordance with the country’s Constitution and with full respect for its legislation. "The Russian specialists’ presence in Venezuela is regulated by an agreement between the Russian government and the government of Venezuela on military-technical cooperation signed in May 2001, which passed all ratification procedures in both countries in due time. No additional authorization by Venezuela’s National Assembly is required for steps to develop bilateral military-technical cooperation taken within the framework of that agreement," she pointed out.