Russia reportedly decided to pull nuclear-capable jets from Venezuela following a diplomatic spat with Washington over their support for the Maduro regime, the White House confirmed on Wednesday.
This week, Russia placed two nuclear-capable Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers in Venezuelan territory and showed them off in the skies as a show of force for the Maduro regime.
“During the international visit of the Aerospace Defense Forces’ delegation to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, pilots of strategic bombers Tu-160 conducted a flight in the airspace over the Caribbean Sea. The flight lasted for about 10 hours,” the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service said on Wednesday.
“In certain parts of the route, the flight of Russian bombers was conducted together with Su-30 and F-16 fighter jets of the Venezuelan National Bolivarian Military Aviation,” they continued. “The pilots from the two countries practiced air cooperation when fulfilling air tasks.”
The move drew up immediate anger from the United States, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denouncing “two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer.”