The plane arrived at Venezuela’s “main airport” on Monday, Reuters reported, referring to the Simon Bolivar International Airport outside of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. The agency did not provide any further details about the aircraft.
However, the photos released indeed show an Il-62 plane with a Russian flag and a tail number RA-86496 parked at the Caracas airport. The flight tracking website Flightradar24 describes this plane as a Russian Air Force Il-62M.
If confirmed, it seems that the same plane arrived in Venezuela as part of a group of two aircraft back in March, which sparked a dispute between Moscow and Washington. March reports about the two planes carrying troops and cargo landing in Venezuela led Washington to demand Moscow “get out” of what it sees as its own “backyard.”
The developments came amid the ongoing US-backed attempt to oust Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and install self-proclaimed interim-president Juan Guaido. US National Security Advisor, and one of the strongest backers of regime change in Venezuela, John Bolton, tweeted at the time that Washington would not “tolerate hostile foreign military powers meddling with the Western Hemisphere’s shared goals of democracy, security, and the rule of law.”
Russia responded by saying that its military specialists arrived in the Latin American country as part of a military technical cooperation agreement, which was ratified by both Moscow and Caracas and “doesn’t require any additional approval from the National Assembly of Venezuela.”
Russia develops its relations with Venezuela “in strict accordance with the Constitution of this country and in full respect of its legislation,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at the time, while adding that the US apparently sees Latin America as an area of its exclusive interest, just like in the colonial times.