MOSCOW – Russia’s Foreign Ministry has denied reports last month that Russian diplomats tried to buy tear gas in Malta and then transfer it to Venezuela.
“The Russian diplomatic mission in Valletta works in strict accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Russian diplomats do not participate in any secret operation,” said a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The Russian ministry stressed that the Maltese authorities did not send their comments on the matter to the Russian embassy in Valletta.
“The false information disseminated by the Maltese media is an example of the lack of professionalism and an echo of anti-Russian hysteria, feeding it does not correspond to the interests of the Russian-Maltese friendship,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The news was first published in April by the US-based BuzzFeed News website, which reported, quoting anonymous sources in the Maltese government, that Russian diplomats tried to buy tear gas bombs to carry them on the Russian anti-submarine ship Severomorsk, which was allegedly going to Venezuela.
On 18 April – a day after Malta had rejected Russia’s request for its Syrian military aircraft to fly over Maltese airspace to Venezuela – Russian authorities revoked the request to allow Severomorsk to dock in Malta.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó is crossing the red line in pursuing US military cooperation, warned former Chilean foreign minister and opposition opposition party president Heraldo Muñoz.
On Saturday, Venezuela’s self-proclaimed “incumbent president” announced that he had ordered his US representative to meet with the Southern Command “to establish a direct and far-reaching cooperation relationship.”
“This is already on the red line,” said Muñoz, who served as head of Chilean diplomacy during the second presidential term of Michelle Bachelet (2014-2018).
The Chilean politician demanded to the government of his country and to the Group of Lima that it must be clarified if they continue betting on a peaceful solution for Venezuela.
“They should clarify whether they continue on a peaceful exit to the Venezuelan crisis, or whether they now support Guaidó in a military intervention expressed in a statement on ‘all options on the table’ and military cooperation with the US,” he tweeted.
Juan Guiadó had already admitted that he would consider a US intervention offer, a country that recognized him as the “president in charge” of the Caribbean nation.