Published: March 25, 2019  Updated: March 25, 2019 at 6:56 am EST

Two Russian air force planes landed in Venezuela on Saturday carrying approximately 100 troops, and a Russian defence official.

Nearly three months ago, the two Nations held a joint exercise in Venezuela which the US called an encroachment in the region.

Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material.

According to Sputnik, a Russian owned news outlet, the two flights carried officials who arrived to “exchange consolations, ” and Russian troops. Further, according to an unnamed source, that spoke to Sputnik; “Russia has various contracts that are in the process of being fulfilled, contracts of a technical military character.”

According to a Venezuelan official, the trip is part of a joint military cooperation between Russia and the Maduro regime. In addition, unconfirmed reports alleged that a Russian cargo plame also arrived in the region on Saturday.

The Trump administration has levied crippling sanctions on the OPEC nation’s oil industry in efforts to push Maduro from power and has called on Venezuelan military leaders to abandon him. Maduro has denounced the sanctions as U.S. interventionism and has won diplomatic backing from Russia and China.

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