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AFP
July 22, 2019

US accuses Venezuela of aggression in skies over Caribbean

World

AFP
July 22, 2019

WASHINGTON: A Venezuelan fighter jet "aggressively shadowed" an American intelligence plane over the Caribbean Sea, US defense officials said Sunday, slamming the maneuver as "unprofessional."

US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) said the Russian-made Venezuelan SU-30 "Flanker" took off from an airfield 200 miles (320 kilometers) east of Caracas on Friday, following a US EP-3 at an "unsafe distance...jeopardizing the crew and aircraft."

"The EP-3 aircraft, flying a mission in approved international airspace, was approached in an unprofessional manner by the SU-30... The US routinely conducts multi-nationally recognized and approved detection and monitoring missions in the region to ensure the safety and security of our citizens and those of our partners," it added.

SOUTHCOM said in a separate post on Twitter the action demonstrated Russia´s "irresponsible military support" to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro´s "illegitimate regime."

It also revealed Maduro's "recklessness & irresponsible behavior, which undermines int´l rule of law & efforts to counter illicit trafficking," it added. The South American nation was plunged into political turmoil in January when National Assembly speaker Juan Guaido declared himself acting president in a direct challenge to Maduro´s authority.

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