Tensions between the United States and Venezuela are raising concerns again, after a close call between two military aircrafts resulted in the countries accusing one another of violating international law.
The United States is now firing back and claiming it did nothing wrong, following accusations that a US Military spy plane violated Venezuela’s airspace.
US Southern Command released footage, which they say shows a Venezuelan fighter jet “aggressively shadowing” a US military plane in an “unprofessional manner” over approved international airspace. They did not say where the encounter took place, or what the plane’s mission was, but claimed the US routinely conducts “monitoring missions in the region to ensure the safety” of its partners.
They also blamed Russia for the incident, alleging that it “demonstrates Russia’s irresponsible military support to Maduro’s illegitimate regime and underscores Maduro’s recklessness and irresponsible behavior.”
But Venezuela claimed its military was forced to intercept the US spy plane because it violated Venezuelan airspace, did not report its presence to local authorities, and posed a risk to other planes in the area.
The incident happened on Friday—the same day the Trump Administration announced sanctions against four of Venezuela’s military officers, alleging that they are responsible for a navy’s captain’s death, after he was arrested and charged with plotting to overthrow the country’s elected government.
While he has the full support of the US, it has been 6 months since opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself as Venezuela’s president, but he still does not have the support of the military.
Meanwhile, the European Union’s foreign policy chief warned last week that Venezuela could face even more sanctions if a peace deal is not reached between the elected government and the opposition. But Maduro said his country will not be blackmailed into an agreement.
“Venezuela does not allow itself to be pressured or blackmailed by anyone, the dialogue will go at the pace it has to go and when there are agreements there will be sovereign agreements as a country. No one will impose an agreement on us,” said Maduro.
Representatives from both the Venezuelan government and the opposition indicated that they made progress with the latest round of peace talks. Venezuela’s communications minister said the third round of discussions, which were mediated by Norway, allowed for a “settlement of disputes through constitutional and peaceful channels.”
Now, there have not been any details released about what was said or decided upon during the talks, but representatives did say further talks will be held as early as this week.
The Trump Administration has yet to respond to reports that is it planning to spend $40 million dollars funding Venezuela’s opposition, which was originally dedicated to humanitarian aid funds in Central America. But the latest clash has raised fears that a military conflict involving the US could be soon become a reality.