MOSCOW, May 21. /TASS/. The US Navy and Air Force activity in the Caribbean Sea looks like attempts to impose a sea blockade of Venezuela, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
According to the Pentagon’s information, the US Navy has set up a strike force in the Caribbean Sea and also redeployed three destroyers accompanied by a littoral combat ship and anti-submarine aircraft to that area, the Russian diplomat recalled.
"There has not been such a projection of forces in the region for a long time. Notably, a report published by the US Southern Command on the training of personnel indicates its preparation for landing on large floating craft rather than for the interception of small fast-speed boats, which, as was stated, are used as part of the operation’s goals declared by Washington," Zakharova pointed out.
"The ships’ inclusion in the maneuvers coincided with the reports that Iran was sending oil tankers to deliver fuel to Venezuela. In this context, the US efforts look like attempts to impose a sea blockade of the Bolivarian Republic," the Russian diplomat noted.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman addressed the following question to the US side: "Are you ready to confirm that the naval and aviation forces amassed in the Caribbean basin have no other goals except those stated as part of the so-called operation to prevent the illicit activity?"
Such activity is taking place along with the increasing sanctions pressure on Caracas amid the pandemic, Zakharova said.
"The US administration’s moves not only to preserve but even to tighten the sanctions against Venezuela are acquiring increasingly flagrant nature. The attempts to pass them off as some targeted restrictions against particular representatives of the country’s leadership, and this concerns the legitimate leadership of Venezuela, including President Nicolas Maduro, do not stand up to scrutiny. They are simply cutting off the country from resources and impeding it to acquire diagnostic means and medicines, individual protection items, medical equipment and expendable materials," the diplomat pointed out.
Venezuela’s Defense Ministry earlier announced that the country’s armed forces would provide escort for tankers transporting fuel to the Bolivarian Republic from Iran. Caracas said in mid-May that the US was chasing tankers transporting fuel to Venezuela from Iran, which, as the country’s Foreign Ministry stated, was a violation of international law and the rights of the republic’s citizens.
The Reuters news agency earlier reported citing a high-placed official in the US administration that the United States was considering measures against Iran for the delivery of fuel to Venezuela.