Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev claims the US is amassing troops near the Venezuelan border ahead of a military operation in the south American country.
US forces have been deployed to “overthrow the lawfully elected incumbent president [of Venezuela] Nicolas Maduro”, he said.
The US has called on Maduro, president since 2013 after succeeding the late Hugo Chávez, to stand down after claiming his 2018 snap election win was marred by vote-rigging.
Under Maduro, Venezuela’s economy has plunged into crisis, with extreme levels of inflation and deprivation causing social and political upheaval.
Maduro has accused the US of staging a coup against him over efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to his country amid widespread hunger and malnutrition.
Russia has backed Maduro, with Patrushev condemning the US for “showing sarcasm and arrogance towards the Venezuelan people”.
He claimed the build-up of US troops in neighbouring countries suggests the Trump administration is “preparing a military invasion on an independent state”.
He said: “The transfer of American special forces to Puerto Rico, the landing of US forces in Colombia and other facts clearly indicate that the Pentagon is reinforcing the grouping of troops in the region in order to overthrow the lawfully elected incumbent president Maduro.”
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