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Kremlin calls on US to respect Russia’s right to cooperate with Venezuela

Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia "maintains rather large-scale and mutually beneficial cooperation with Venezuela"

BISHKEK, March 28. /TASS/. Third countries should not worry about Russia-Venezuela relations, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, highlighting the need to respect the right to cooperation.

"We don’t think that third parties should worry about our bilateral relations with other countries. We don’t interfere in Venezuela’s domestic affairs and expect third countries to do the same, letting the Venezuelan people decide their future themselves," he said.

"As for the United States, it is present in many parts of the world but no one tells Washington where it should be and where it shouldn’t. This is why we expect that our right to build relations with other countries based on our interests and the interests of those countries will be respected," the Kremlin spokesman emphasized.

He pointed out that "Russia maintains rather large-scale and mutually beneficial cooperation with Venezuela." Peskov also noted that "there are some obligations under previous contracts that Russia has to fulfill, which concern the supply of special equipment." "And as for the specialists that arrived in Venezuela a few days ago, Russia is working to fulfill these contracts and its obligations," the Russian presidential spokesman said, adding that the contracts in question were military ones and concerned military equipment.

According to the El Comercio newspaper, an Antonov An-124 and an Ilyushin Il-62 aircraft carrying Russian troops and 35 tonnes of equipment arrived in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on March 23.

On March 27, US President Donald Trump said at a meeting with Fabiana Rosales, the wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, that "Russia has to get out" of Venezuela. He added that "all options are open" if Russia failed to do that. US Vice President Michael Pence, in turn, called on Moscow "to cease all support of the Maduro regime and stand with Juan Guaido, stand with nations across this hemisphere and across the world until freedom is restored." US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told the Congress that not only did Washington seek to drive Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro out of politics but it also wanted to put an end to Russian and Cuban influence on Venezuela.