Lima Group concerned over Russian 'provocation' in Venezuela


Buenos Aires (AFP)

The Lima Group condemned Tuesday the presence of Russian military planes in Venezuela as a provocation threatening regional peace.

The 13 Latin American states and Canada said they were concerned "over the arrival of two Russian military aircraft" in Venezuela and condemned "any provocation or military deployment that threatens peace and security in the region."

The statement was issued by the foreign ministry of group member Argentina.

The body, set up in 2017 to advocate for a regional solution to Venezuela's political and economic crisis, also renewed a call to nations that still maintain friendly ties with "the illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro" to help search for a democratic solution.

Russia, which recognizes Maduro as leader, sent two planes carrying 100 troops and tons of military equipment to Caracas on Saturday.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido charged that the deployment violates the constitution of the troubled South American country.

Russia's foreign ministry said the deployment was "in strict accordance with the constitution of that country and with full respect for its legal norms."

The Lima Group -- comprising Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Santa Lucia -- all recognize Guaido as interim president.