Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied the reports about Russia’s military being involved in the developments in Venezuela.
“Of course not,” Peskov said in state-run TV show To Putin, Kremlin, Moscow when answering the question whether Russia has sent mercenaries in Venezuela. “Fear has a hundred eyes,” he added.
On January 25, news agency Reuters reported with reference to sources familiar with the situation that members of the so-called Wagner private military company headed for Venezuela to guard Nicolas Maduro. The grouping of Russian mercenaries led by Commander Dmitry Utkin is supposedly financed by Evgeny Prigozhin whose nickname is ‘Putin’s Chef’. Wagner is supposedly fighting for separatists in Donbas and for al-Assad in Syria.
“Our people are staying there to protect Maduro […] There has been an urgent order. Contractors arrived in Venezuela not from Moscow, but from third countries, where they had other tasks,” Evgeny Shabayev, Chairman of the All-Russian officers’ club, said.
According to him, Russian mercenaries went to Venezuela immediately after the start of the protests.
At the same time, Telegram channel TEK-TEK claims that their goal is not providing support to the Maduro regime, but the protection of the oil-producing companies Russia’s Rosneft has stakes in.
On January 23, mass protesting against president Nicolas Maduro erupted in Venezuela. Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition National Assembly, declared himself acting president during an opposition rally in Caracas; he is seeking to hold new elections in the country. He was recognised an interim head of the country by almost all states of the continent, including Colombia, Brazil and the United States.