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Thread: Russia finalize plans to integrate Cuba and Venezuela into Russian Strategic Forces

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Russia finalize plans to integrate Cuba and Venezuela into Russian Strategic Forc

    Chinese medical vessel docks in Venezuela

    The humanitarian tour will provide medical help to the crisis-ridden country, but Venezuelan officials said it was also part of a "strategic defense operation." Pharmaceutical prices have soared as the currency tanks.



    The Chinese army medical vessel "Peace Ark" arrived in Venezuela's La Guaira port on Saturday, as the country faces a deep economic crisis that has devastated its public health services.

    It is the latest stop for the People's Liberation Army Navy's ship in its 11-nation "Mission Harmony" tour. The visit is taking place on the heels of the US announcing that it would also be sending a navy medical ship, the USS Comfort, to help Venezuelan refugees in Colombia, a move that Caracas has criticized.

    Read more: Multilateral approach needed to contain Venezuela’s refugee crisis, experts warn

    Top Venezuelan officials saw the Comfort's deployment as a threat and a sign that the US seeks a military intervention on humanitarian grounds
    .

    Though the stated goal of the Peace Ark is primarily humanitarian, Padrino said its visit to Venezuela was part of the government's "strategic defense operation."

    "This is how you undertake diplomacy in the world," Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said in a welcome ceremony, "with concrete actions of cooperation and not stoking the false voices of those who beat the drum of war."

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  2. #22
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    Default Re: Russia finalize plans to integrate Cuba and Venezuela into Russian Strategic Forc

    White House not tamping down tensions after Bolton seen holding notepad with words '5000 troops to Colombia'

    By Kevin Liptak, Ryan Browne and Caroline Kelly, CNN

    Updated 10:58 AM ET, Tue January 29, 2019





    (CNN)The White House is not tamping down tensions after national security adviser John Bolton was seen Monday holding a yellow legal pad inscribed with the words "5000 troops to Colombia."

    "As the President has said, all options are on the table," a White House spokesman said when asked for an explanation of the notes, which were seen during a briefing with reporters about new sanctions on Venezuela.

    President Donald Trump has refused to rule out military options in Venezuela as the administration ramps up pressure on the country's ruler, Nicolás Maduro.

    A Defense Department official said on Monday that there are no plans to send any forces to South America nor are any discussions ongoing at the policy or operational levels.

    There are a limited number of US troops currently in Colombia as part of the Plan/Paz Colombia mission but that number is in the hundreds, the official said.

    When asked about Venezuela on Monday, acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters, "Here in the Department of Defense, we are very closely monitoring the situation."

    Colombia's foreign minister reacted to Bolton's notes Monday evening, saying he was unaware of the thinking behind them.

    "Colombia does not know the reasons behind these notes and it is unaware of the real extent of them," said Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo in a statement.

    "Colombia will continue to carry conversations with the United States on several topics and cooperating with the U.S. in any bilateral topics."

    In the US' strongest rebuke of Maduro so far, Bolton and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced sanctions earlier Monday against Venezuela's state-sponsored oil company that would block about $7 billion in assets and prevent $11 billion in assets over the next year, Bolton said.

    Maduro faces a challenge from self-appointed interim president Juan Guaido as the nation becomes increasingly unstable. The embattled Maduro alleged Sunday that the United States has facilitated a "coup" to undermine him, referencing reports that US Vice President Mike Pence had pledged America's full support to Guaido.

    Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said Monday that the military is "ready to die" for its homeland, after Venezuela's military attaché in Washington, Col. José Luis Silva, defected Saturday and publicly backed Guaido.




    Moscow strongly WARNS West against risky ideas of using force in Venezuela

    By Paul Antonopoulos



    Members of the Bolivarian Militia take part in a military parade to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the return of the late President Hugo Chavez to power after a failed coup d' etat, at the National Heroes Avenue in Caracas on April 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / FEDERICO PARRA (Photo credit should read FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)


    MOSCOW, Russia – Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has stated that Russia strongly warns the West against risky ideas of pushing forward a scenario of force in Venezuela.

    For the Russian Deputy FM, “a destructive external intervention, especially a military intervention in Venezuelan internal affairs is the worst of all possible scenarios.”

    “It is difficult to predict its consequences, but it is clear that the hypothetical use of force in this situation will lead to a wave of bloodshed that would have consequences outside of Venezuela,” Ryabkov said.

    According to the Russian diplomat, military intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs is the worst case scenario and its consequences will affect not only Venezuela but also other countries.

    “I emphasize that we did not want to make such predictions, we only once again give a serious warning against such adventurous ideas if they exist among some responsible politicians in the Western Hemisphere,” the deputy minister said.

    In addition, Russia is concerned that the participants in the contact group for Venezuela do not appear to be paying any attention to the internal dialogue in the country during the meeting in Uruguay.

    “We are concerned that, according to the information received, less attention has been paid during this event than was previously expected, when only Mexico and Uruguay had such initiative on the subject of dialogue on the subject of internal reconciliation of Venezuela,” Ryabkov explained.

    The Venezuelan political crisis worsened on January 23, after Venezuelan National Assembly chief Juan Guaidó was declared interim president of the country during anti-government protests in the streets of Caracas. President Nicolas Maduro has accused Washington of orchestrating a coup in Venezuela, calling Guaidó a “US puppet.”

    The opposition leader has been backed by the US and some other countries. Russia, China, Mexico and Turkey are among the nations that express their support for Maduro as the country’s legitimately elected head of state.

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  3. #23
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    Default Re: Russia finalize plans to integrate Cuba and Venezuela into Russian Strategic Forc

    Russian Air Force Planes Land in Venezuela Carrying Troops: Reports

    March 24, 2019 / 12:13 PM / Updated a day ago

    CARACAS (Reuters) - Two Russian air force planes landed at Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops, according to media reports, amid strengthening ties between Caracas and Moscow.

    An airplane with the Russian flag is seen at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

    A flight-tracking website showed that two planes left from a Russian military airport bound for Caracas on Friday, and another flight-tracking site showed that one plane left Caracas on Sunday.

    That comes three months after the two nations held military exercises on Venezuelan soil that President Nicolas Maduro called a sign of strengthening relations, but which Washington criticized as Russian encroachment in the region.

    Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material.

    An Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left for Caracas on Friday from Russian military airport Chkalovsky, stopping along the way in Syria, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24.

    The cargo plane left Caracas on Sunday afternoon, according to Adsbexchange, another flight-tracking site.

    The flights carried officials who arrived to “exchange consultations,” wrote Russian government-owned news agency Sputnik, which quoted an unnamed source at the Russian embassy.

    “Russia has various contracts that are in the process of being fulfilled, contracts of a technical military character,” Sputnik quoted the source as saying.

    A Reuters witness saw what appeared to be the passenger jet at the Maiquetia airport on Sunday.

    Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

    Russia’s Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry did not reply to messages seeking comment. The Kremlin spokesman also did not reply to a request for comment.

    The Trump administration has levied crippling sanctions on the OPEC nation’s oil industry in efforts to push Maduro from power and has called on Venezuelan military leaders to abandon him. Maduro has denounced the sanctions as U.S. interventionism and has won diplomatic backing from Russia and China.

    In December, two Russian strategic bomber aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons landed in Venezuela in a show of support for Maduro’s socialist government that infuriated Washington.

    Maduro on Wednesday said Russia would send medicine “next week” to Venezuela, without describing how it would arrive, adding that Moscow in February had sent some 300 tonnes of humanitarian aid.

    Venezuela in February had blocked a convoy carrying humanitarian aid for the crisis-stricken country that was coordinated with the team of opposition leader Juan Guaido, including supplies provided by the United States, from entering via the border with Colombia.


    Pompeo warns Russia about its military presence in Venezuela



    An airplane with the Russian flag is seen at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela, on March 24, 2019. (Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

    By Karen DeYoung

    March 25 at 1:53 PM

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told his Russian counterpart Monday that the United States “will not stand idly by” if Russia continues to send military personnel to Venezuela to prop up President Nicolás Maduro, the State Department said.

    Pompeo’s telephone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov followed weekend reports that at least two Russian air force planes carrying a senior defense official and about 100 troops landed at Venezuela’s main airport Saturday.

    Maduro has managed to hold on to power despite U.S. recognition in January, along with dozens of other countries, of Juan Guaidó, the head of the opposition-led Legislative Assembly, as interim president.

    U.S. frustration with the situation has grown as efforts to convince the Venezuelan military to switch sides and support Guaidó have produced few results, even as thousands of anti-Maduro protesters have taken to the streets amid severe shortages of food, water and medical care. The military and pro-Maduro paramilitary groups have escalated the use of force against the Guaidó supporters.

    The Trump administration has charged Russia and Cuba, Maduro’s main backers, with intervening to keep him in power.

    “The continued insertion of Russian military personnel to support” Maduro “risks prolonging the suffering of the Venezuelan people who overwhelmingly support” Guaidó, the U.S. statement said. Pompeo, it said, called on Russia, to “cease its unconstructive behavior and join other nations . . . who seek a better future for the Venezuelan people.”

    Pompeo on Venezuela blackout: 'Thank the Cuban communist overlords'

    Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the call took place on Pompeo’s initiative and that the secretary was interested in “specific issues” related to Venezuela and Syria.

    The statement did not comment directly on reports of the military landings, but said that Lavrov “emphasized that Washington’s attempts to organize a coup d’etat in Venezuela and threats against its lawful government constitute a violation of the U.N. Charter and open interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state.”

    Separately, Nikolai Patrushev, head of the state security council, accused the administration of acting to “promote U.S. economic interests” and “take over Venezuelan oil,” according to an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published Monday. Last month, Patrushev charged that the United States was deploying troops to Colombia and Puerto Rico ahead of a planned military intervention to topple Maduro.

    Trump has repeatedly said “all options,” including military intervention, are on the table in dealing with Venezuela. But administration officials have said there are no current plans to use military force and that U.S. policy is focused on diplomatic and economic pressure through escalating sanctions. Earlier this month, the administration evacuated U.S. diplomatic personnel from Venezuela.

    There have been a number of unconfirmed reports in recent weeks of Russian military and contract soldiers appearing in Venezuela. On Saturday, a local reporter in Caracas, Javiar Mayorca, wrote on Twitter that a plane carrying about 100 troops and Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the Russian ground forces, landed in Caracas. It was followed by a cargo plane carrying 35 tons of material, he wrote.

    Flight tracking websites said the planes had taken off from Russian military airports. Russia made no official comment on the flights, although government-owned Sputnik news agency on Monday quoted an unnamed “diplomatic source in Caracas” saying Russian military personnel had arrived “to take part in bilateral consultations” with the Maduro government.

    In December, Russia sent two nuclear-capable long range bombers to Venezuela for several days to participate in what it said were joint exercises.

    Russia and China have blocked U.S. proposals in the United Nations for international sanctions against Venezuela.

    Since the election of Hugo Chávez as Venezuela’s president in 1999, Russia has been the country’s primary military supplier. Under Maduro, who became president after Chavez’s death in 2013, Moscow has extended billions in loans to Caracas, much of it under arrangements to repay the debt with Venezuelan oil.

    Rosneft, Russia’s government-owned oil behemoth, has provided Maduro with much-needed cash for joint ownership of at least five Venezuelan oil fields.

    Venezuela has the largest known petroleum reserves in the world, but production has plummeted in recent years because of corruption and mismanagement. The current political and economic crisis has sent millions of Venezuelans fleeing into other countries in the hemisphere.

    Cuba, with economic problems of its own, has sent what the administration says is up to 25,000 military and intelligence personnel — and Havana says are medical and educational personnel — to Venezuela in exchange for free and subsidized oil.


    US will not 'stand idly' as Russia dispatches troops in Venezuela

    Date created : 25/03/2019 - 17:00Latest update : 25/03/2019 - 18:21


    Juan Barreto / AFP | A painting depicting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is displayed by a supporter during a pro-government demonstration in Caracas on March 23, 2019.

    FRANCE 24

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Russia Monday the United States will not "stand idly by" as Moscow inserts military personnel into Venezuela to support the regime of President Nicolas Maduro.

    In a phone call with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Pompeo denounced the growing Russian military reinforcements as prolonging the political crisis in the South American country.

    Pompeo told Lavrov "the United States and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela," the State Department said in a statement.

    "The continued insertion of Russian military personnel to support the illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela risks prolonging the suffering of the Venezuelan people who overwhelmingly support interim President Juan Guaido," he said.

    Sergei Lavrov reacted later on Monday by releasing a statement accusing the United States of plotting a "coup" against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

    Guaido is supported by the United States and most Latin American and European nations but he retains the support of Russia and China, US rivals who have offered political and economic support to him.

    Pompeo urged Russia to "cease its unconstructive behavior" and support Guaido.

    (FRANCE 24 with AFP)

    ===============================

    Response...?


    ᴛʜᴇ ɪɴᴛᴇʟ ᴄʀᴀʙ Retweeted

    Hans de Vreij

    @hdevreij
    3h3 hours ago
    More
    TWO USAF B-52 strategic bombers over the Baltic Sea, near the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. You can bet Su-27's will be scrambled to 'intercept and chase away'.


    EndGameWW3 Retweeted

    Johan Nilsson


    @rlgrpch
    39m39 minutes ago
    More

    A third B52 has arrived to the Baltics. Two B52 are joining up from Latvia and Lithuania.

    #Russia deploys S-300 to Baltiysk, Kaliningrad, after USAF B-52H flybys.

    ==================================================

    Last edited by vector7; March 25th, 2019 at 19:54.

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  4. #24
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    Default Re: Russia finalize plans to integrate Cuba and Venezuela into Russian Strategic Forc

    Venezuela Military Deploys S-300 Missiles Following Russian Troop Arrival

    by Tyler Durden

    Mon, 03/25/2019 - 09:35



    Following the major weekend development of Moscow unambiguously asserting its 'red line' concerning potential US military intervention in Venezuela, for which Russia sent a military transport plane filled with Russian troops which landed in Caracas Saturday, new satellite images reveal a major deployment of S-300 air defense missile systems to a key airbase south of Caracas.

    Crucially the Russian An-124 transport plane which touched down in Caracas on Saturday carried no less than Russian General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, identified as chief of the Main Staff of the Ground Forces and First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces of Russia, accompanied by 99 servicemen and 35 tons of cargo.

    As we reported the flight came just days after a high-level meeting in Rome last week, during which Russia reiterated a grave warning to the US – Moscow will not tolerate American military intervention to topple the Venezuelan government with whom it is allied - thus it appears Russia is taking no chances with its South American ally.

    One of those warnings delivered directly by Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov to US “special envoy” on Venezuelan affairs Elliot Abrams is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.

    And just a day following the contingency of Russia troops landing in Caracas, Maduro's National Bolivarian Armed Forces have reportedly activated S-300 missiles after completing military drills that previously took place in February.

    The professional monitoring service Image Satellite International (or Image Sat) has published satellite imagery it analyzed, showing additional S-300 missiles that have been deployed to the Captain Manuel Rios Airbase in the Guarico state of Venezuela.

    No doubt, the timing of the S-300 redeployment is purposeful, meant to send a strong message to Washington, though it remains unclear just how active the Russian military will be in Venezuela.

    Image Sat commented on the new images: "The deployment includes five launchers and a 9S32ME multi-channel missile guidance radar (MMGR). Venezuela increases its operational readiness due to regional tension."

    Perhaps paralleling the Syria situation, this could be the start of a scenario where the greater the proxy action and threats from the United States, the more Russia will slowly intervene at the behest of Maduro.

    All of these developments signaling closer Russian-Venezuelan military-to-military cooperation in the face of Washington saber rattling come after three months ago the two allies held military exercises on Venezuelan soil, which the US at the time had condemned as Russia encroachment in the region.

    But now with a high level Russian commander on the ground, and with Russian-made S-300s under the control of Maduro forces, it is unlikely that the US will act forcefully following the failed coup attempt of the past two months.

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    Default Re: Russia finalize plans to integrate Cuba and Venezuela into Russian Strategic Forc

    Ha! was just about to post this.

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    Default Re: Russia finalize plans to integrate Cuba and Venezuela into Russian Strategic Forc

    Passing this along with the caveat it's A) from ZeroHedge, B) they're quoting some news source I've never heard of, C) I'm not seeing this being reported by more reputable sources.

    China Sends Over 120 Troops To Venezuela In Defiance Of US Warnings

    April 2, 2019

    It doesn't appear last Friday's strong warning from national security adviser John Bolton for countries "external to the Western Hemisphere" to keep their militaries out of Venezuela had the intended effect. Bolton's and other White House statements saying "Russia has to get out" came following Russian Air Force planes landing in Caracas with about 100 troops, which the Kremlin said were there as "specialists" servicing existing defense equipment contracts.

    And now according to Al-Masdar News, citing defense analyst photographs and local reports, "more than 120 soldiers from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army arrived at Venezuela’s Margarita Island to deliver humanitarian and military supplies to the government forces."

    The military flight appears to have touched down on Sunday, two days after a prior Chinese cargo plane delivered 65 tons of medicine and other aid to Venezuela. The Chinese troops are also there ostensibly to assist with the humanitarian mission, but it appears Beijing is also now alongside the Russians pushing back against Washington ultimatums to stay out of Venezuela, after repeatedly condemning any external coup plotting against President Nicolas Maduro.

    "We strongly caution actors external to the Western Hemisphere against deploying military assets to Venezuela, or elsewhere in the Hemisphere, with the intent of establishing or expanding military operations," Bolton had warned in his statement.

    #Venezuela #China #Russia #Caracas #Chinese army soldiers arrived in Venezuela

    Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers, as part of a cooperation program, arrived, after delivering humanitarian supplies, to one of Venezuelan military facilities. pic.twitter.com/HwZ9Ee67d0
    — Sukhoi Su-57 frazor�������� (@I30mki) April 1, 2019

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had also last week accused external actors of assisting Maduro in "plundering" the already cash-strapped and impoverished Latin American country, stating in a tweet: “Maduro calls for hands off Venezuela while he invites security forces from Cuba and Russia, so he and his cronies can keep plundering Venezuela. It is time for Venezuelan institutions to stand for their sovereignty..."

    The Maduro government has repeatedly blocked attempts of US aid from entering the country; however, late last week the Red Cross announced it now has unhindered access to bring aid into the increasingly desperate country amidst medieval conditions, of failing power and water infrastructure. Red Cross officials plan to begin delivering aid to "650,000 people within 20 days" —something which both sides, Maduro and Guaido supporters — are claiming as a victory.

    Meanwhile, as Al-Masdar comments of Beijing's sending its own troops in to assist: "These moves by the Russian and Chinese armed forces appear to be a powerplay against the U.S. administration, who is actively pushing to remove Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from power."

    Early in the now months-long crisis since Maduro's reelection, Paul Craig Roberts predicted the following:

    If Russia and China quickly established a military presence in Venezuela to protect their loans and oil investments, Venezuela could be saved, and other countries that would like to be independent would take heart that, although there is no support for self-determination anywhere in the Western World, the former authoritarian countries will support it. Other assertions of independence would arise, and the Empire would collapse.

    And we previously highlighted the not so minor issue of China over the past decade lending over $50 billion to Caracas as part of an oil-for-loan agreements program. It underscores just how quickly what appears a new White House full court press for regime change could bring Washington again into indirect conflict with both China and Russia.

    And in total Venezuela owes "more than $120 billion just to China and Russia" according to a FOX report.

    Both China and Russia further remain the Latin American country's biggest arms suppliers and Beijing had an additional $3.2 in direct investments in Venezuela in 2017, not to mention at least three joint ventures between between China National Petroleum Corp and Venezuela’s now US-sanctioned state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela SA, or PdVSA.

    Though Venezuelan repayments to China reportedly began slowing to a "trickle" by 2015, current political unrest and Washington's regime change efforts could prove devastating for Chinese investment:

    China’s investments are now at risk under Mr. Maduro—and Beijing also recognizes that a U.S.-backed Guaidó administration might refuse to honor outstanding debts.

    China’s Commerce Ministry spelled out this concern on Tuesday. “If the opposition party holds power in the future, a new Venezuelan government could use ‘protecting national interests’ as a reason to renegotiate contract terms with China and even just refuse to repay remaining debts,” the ministry said in its latest investment guidance report on Venezuela.

    Given that Beijing is all to aware of the outcome to any Venezuelan transition of power, and given it remains the Maduro regime's top weapons supplier, there's no telling what kind of possible clandestine military-to-military cooperation or contingency plans are already in effect.

    Similar to China's quiet military support to Syria's Assad throughout the past years of international proxy war in the Levant, which has gone increasingly public, China could be gearing up to support Maduro in a more direct capacity.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Russia finalize plans to integrate Cuba and Venezuela into Russian Strategic Forc

    Sen. Rick Scott: Russian and Chinese military could 'hit Florida' from Venezuela

    April 11, 2019 06:29 PM
    by Joel Gehrke



    Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro is giving Russian and Chinese military forces the ability to better infiltrate the American mainland, a Republican senator warned Thursday.

    “We’re going to have a problem whether we want to acknowledge it or not,” Florida Sen. Rick Scott said on stage at the American Enterprise Institute. “Once they have the foothold in Venezuela, they can come here by land eventually. Our southern border is very porous, as we know. With the right military assets, they can hit Florida or any place else.”

    Scott, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, argued not just that “the United States must consider the use of military assets” to deliver humanitarian aid to Venezuela over Maduro's objections. He raised the prospect of a full military intervention to overthrow the regime, saying that Venezuela has turned into an important theater of “great power confrontation” among the United States, Russia, and China.

    “The Cubans, Russians, and Chinese see Venezuela as an economic opportunity, but more importantly, they see a chance to intimidate the United States, to be a thorn in our side,” Scott said in his speech. “Here’s the truth: We simply cannot allow our adversaries in Russia, China, or Cuba to gain a foothold in Venezuela.”

    The United States and other Western democratic powers recognized opposition lawmaker Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela in January, after Maduro claimed to have secured another term as president in an election that international observers condemned as fraudulent. The Venezuelan constitution gives the legislature the power to authorize "foreign military missions within the country,” but it has not yet made that request of the U.S., perhaps due to doubts about how Trump would respond.

    “If the Venezuelan people, through their elected national assembly and their own laws and constitution, request assistance to restore constitutional government and democracy, we should be ready to answer that call,” Scott said.

    Maduro has defied Western pressure with the assistance of Cuban security forces, as well as Russian and Chinese support. Russia, which startled U.S. officials in December by sending to Venezuela for military exercises two bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, dispatched about 100 members of the military to repair Maduro’s S-300 anti-aircraft missile defense system after a nationwide power outage in March. That blackout exacerbated a humanitarian crisis that has driven millions of Venezuelans to seek food and medical treatment in neighboring countries such as Colombia.

    "The United States needs to start considering the use of military assets to bring aid to the millions of starving and sick Venezuelans," Scott said. "And I call on all of our allies and those supporting Guaidó to help us in this effort."

    Maduro-aligned forces blocked a U.S. effort to deliver humanitarian aid in cooperation with Guaidó in February. Maduro's Russian-made air defenses raise the risks for any U.S. military operation over Venezuelan skies. And Scott acknowledged that American neglect of Latin America in recent decades has undercut intelligence-gathering in the region.

    “If you look at the amount of military assets we have dedicated to this hemisphere, it’s pretty weak,” he said in discussion with Roger Noriega, an AEI visiting fellow and former assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere. “I think that’s why ... you’re seeing Russia is going to continue to build up assets."

    Trump's national security team shares that concern while recognizing that it has not been as "easy" to dislodge Maduro through diplomatic and economic pressure as some in the administration thought it would be.

    “If China and Russia along with Cuba establish domination over Venezuela, I think American strategic interests will be harmed,” White House national security adviser John Bolton told talk radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday. “Look, our objective is a peaceful transition of power to Juan Guaidó and the opposition. But let’s not forget we’ve got between 40,000 to 50,000 American citizens in Venezuela. It’s our obligation to protect them.”

    Scott allowed that a peaceful transition would be ideal, but he believes the crisis is more likely to degenerate into a conflict like the Syrian civil war. While he supports U.S. sanctions, he wants Trump to expand the toolkit to include military force if the sanctions fail to crack the regime.

    “If embargoes and blockades can help, we should consider them,” Scott told the AEI audience. “And if military force on the part of the United States and our allies in the region is necessary to rid us of the scourge of Maduro and his thugs, then we absolutely cannot rule it out.“

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    Default Re: Russia finalize plans to integrate Cuba and Venezuela into Russian Strategic Forc

    'How British spies smuggled secrets about Putin's new supersonic bomber out of country in pilots' box of loose leaf tea


    • The audacious plot was hatched to steal secrets about multi-million pound upgrades to Russia's supersonic TU-160 Blackjack bombers
    • A source within Russia planted the plans at the bottom of a box of loose tea
    • It was carried unwittingly by Russian pilots to Venezuela where an agent picked up the discarded box
    • The information has helped Western forces identify vulnerabilities in the planes


    By Jack Newman For Mailonline

    Published: 08:18 EDT, 26 May 2019 | Updated: 10:43 EDT, 26 May 2019

    British spies stashed Russian defence secrets in a packet of loose leaf tea on board a Blackjack bomber travelling to Venezuela in an audacious plot.

    The plans were hatched by MI6 working with the CIA and Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel, who wanted information on upgrades to the supersonic bombers.

    It involved an unwitting Russian crew drinking tea during a flight from Russia to Caracas with the secrets stashed at the bottom of the packet by a Western source in the country.


    A daring plot to steal Russian secrets about upgrades to their TU-160 Blackjack bombers


    The defence secrets detailed Russia's multi-million pound upgrade for their supersonic TU-160 bombers, otherwise known as Blackjacks.

    The bomber's upgrades have transformed its defensive capabilities which make it difficult for enemy fighters to lock on to it, according to The Sunday Express.

    Western air forces wanted more information about the Blackjack's vulnerabilities and so the daring plan was hatched.

    The plans were stashed at the bottom of a packet of loose tea which was calculated to be the right amount during the 13-hour flight

    After identifying a source who could reveal such information, the intelligence agencies started working on extracting the information from Russia, without wanting to send spies to the country.

    In the wake of the Novichok attack in Salisbury last year, diplomatic tensions between the West and Russia were already on the brink and the agencies had to come up with a plan to get hold of the secrets.

    An answer came in an unlikely place as the spies discovered Putin was sending two Blackjacks to Venezuela in a show of support to President Nicolas Maduro in December, 2018.

    Russia relies on the re-selling of Venezuelan oil and gas and signed a pact with Hugo Chavez in 2008 and Putin seized the opportunity to display the bombers off the US coast.

    The plan was then hatched for the information to be carried unknowingly on one of the Blackjacks.

    It was stored at the bottom of a packet of loose Russian Caravan tea on board the bomber.


    Vladimir Putin sent two bombers to Venezuela in a show of support to President Nicolas Maduro, giving spies the ideal opportunity to steal the plans

    Agents even had to calculate how much tea the pilots would drink during the 13-hour flight.

    If there was too much, the packet would not be thrown away.

    When the plane landed at Simon Bolivar airport in Venezuela, an agent retrieved the discarded packet and then took it to a CIA officer waiting at a hotel in Caracas.

    The secrets were taken to the US for analysis before it was shared with UK and Nato forces.

    An intelligence source said: 'An hour after landing, a quantity of rubbish, which included the tea packet, was taken from the aircraft while it was being refuelled.

    'The packet, which contained a small amount of tea, was among items placed in a rubbish disposal point.

    'That it worked was due, in no small part, to luck, but such is the way with many operations.'

    After the success of the ingenious plan, Western air forces have been able to use the information to adapt their interceptors to combat the upgraded Blackjacks.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    ."
    We’ll so weaken your
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    until you’ll
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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