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  • Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during the annual news conference in Moscow, Russia January 16, 2019.

    Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during the annual news conference in Moscow, Russia January 16, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 June 2019

"I was surprised when I read this. We did not notify anyone. He apparently read an article in The Wall Street Journal, on which both Rostec Corporation and our ministry have already commented. The article mentioned some thousands of Russian specialists who had now been withdrawn from there.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sat down for an interview with the RBC Group on Tuesday to discuss a number of topics affecting his country.

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During the interview, Lavrov was asked about U.S. President Donald Trump’s claims that Russia informed him about the withdrawal of their military personnel from Venezuela.  

Lavrov rebuffed Trump’s claims about Russia informing him of their personnel withdrawal, adding that he must have read this news in a Wall Street Journal article. "I was surprised when I read this. We did not notify anyone. He apparently read an article in The Wall Street Journal, on which both Rostec Corporation and our ministry have already commented. The article mentioned some thousands of Russian specialists who had now been withdrawn from there.”

According to Lavrov, Russia has never made it a secret that their military personnel are servicing hardware that was supplied to the Bolivarian Republic. "We have never made it a secret that our experts are servicing the hardware that was supplied to that country in compliance with legitimate contracts. The figure of 95 experts was mentioned: they last flew there and performed regular maintenance work required within the framework of our commitments under these contracts.”

The Russian Foreign Minister then questioned the quality of Trump’s advisers as this information was not shared with Washington. "I can’t even imagine from where this information has surfaced that we allegedly ‘informed’ Americans that we were pulling out our specialists from there [from Venezuela]. But this raises questions for me about the quality of those advisers who put reports on the table of the US president.”

The Kremlin maintains that they do not share information about their military personnel in foreign countries, despite Trump’s recent claims on Venezuela.

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