The rejection came after The Wall Street Journal claimed Russia would cut the number of its military experts in Venezuela from about 1,000 to “just a few dozen” amid political and economic crisis gripping the Latin American nation.
“This is another piece of ‘news’ which has absolutely nothing to do with reality. Work is being carried out in accordance with existing obligations, and there is no talk of any cuts,” Russian ambassador to Caracas Vladimir Zaemsky said on Monday.
Citing an unnamed source, the American daily newspaper reported on Sunday that Russian state defense contractor Rostec, which trains Venezuelan troops and offers advice on securing arms deals, would reduce the number of its staff in Caracas to “just a few dozen” from around 1,000.
Rostec’s press service said in a statement that The Wall Street Journal had “overestimated the numbers of Rostec staff in Venezuela by several times,” and noted that the numbers had actually remained “unchanged for many years.”
“As for technical experts, they come to the country from time to time in order to repair previously delivered equipment and provide technical maintenance,” Rostec added.
The American paper also claimed in the report that the alleged withdrawal of Russian advisers was an “embarrassment” for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and a sign that Moscow was weighing “the leader’s political and economic resilience against growing US pressure.”
Moscow has provided Venezuela with military support in the form of military specialists operating in the South American country under contracts for the supply of Russian-made weaponry.
Venezuela’s armed forces are already equipped with a wide range of modern Russian aircraft, helicopters, armored vehicles and air defense systems, including the S-300VM.
Venezuela has been in an unprecedented political chaos since US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido declared himself the “interim president” in a bizarre move in January.
The administration of US President Donald Trump, which immediately recognized the 35-year-old opposition leader as the acting president of Venezuela and called other countries to follow suit, has repeatedly threatened to use military force to topple incumbent President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
Furthermore, Washington has been using everything in its power, including economic pressure, to topple Maduro. The US has also confiscated Venezuela’s oil assets based in the US to channel them to Guaido.
Russia and China, among many other countries, back the democratically-elected government of Maduro, who has called Guaido a “puppet” of Washington.
Maduro has repeatedly accused Washington of openly pushing for a coup in the oil-rich Latin American country by confiscating its state oil assets based in the US and channeling them to Guaido.
Caracas has also accused Washington of waging an economic war, which has led to hyperinflation and widespread shortages of food and medicine in Venezuela.