US military accuses Venezuelan jet of ‘aggressively’ shadowing American plane; blames Russia for encounter

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Washington DC, July 22: The United States military has on Sunday claimed its plane was “aggressively shadowed” by a Venezuelan fighter jet over international airspace, a move likely to rage hostility between the two countries.

The incident took place on Friday when the US President Donald Trump administration declared it was imposing sanctions on four senior Venezuelan military officials of counterintelligence agency.

In a statement, the America military stated it had determined: “Russian-made fighter aggressively shadowed the EP-3 at an unsafe distance in international airspace for a prolonged period of time, endangering the safety of the crew and jeopardizing the EP-3 mission.”

However, the two aircraft did not come across to each other or collide, hence no casualties were reported in the standoff.

The Trump administration has already sanctioned some officials of Venezuela in efforts to oust embattled President Nicolas Maduro, whose re-election held in 2018 has been deemed as illegitimate by most Western allies and Washington.

“The Maduro regime continues to undermine internationally recognized laws and demonstrate its contempt for international agreements authorizing the US and other nations to safely conduct flights in international airspace,” the US military said in a statement.

The military statement also targeted Russia, stating the very-close encounter in the international airspace “demonstrates Russia’s irresponsible military support to the illegitimate Maduro regime”.

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