Kremlin Says Venezuela Pullout Trump Tweeted About Didn't Happen

(Bloomberg) -- The Kremlin denied President Donald Trump‘s claim that Russia told the U.S. it was withdrawing most of its military advisers from Venezuela.

“There were no official messages from the Russian side on this score and nor could there be any,” President Vladimir Putin‘s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. “There are specialists there who are maintaining” military equipment in Venezuela, Peskov said.

He was responding to a question about a tweet Trump wrote on Monday, saying “Russia has informed us that they have removed most of their people from Venezuela.” That came after the Wall Street Journal reported that Russian state defense contractor Rostec has cut staff levels in Venezuela to a few dozen from a peak of 1,000, and that the pullout has escalated in recent months amid a lack of new deals and a view in Moscow that President Nicolas Maduro‘s crisis-racked government lacks funds to pay for services linked to past contracts.

Rostec said it remained committed to cooperation with Venezuela and that the Journal vastly overstated its presence there. “The composition of the mission has remained unchanged for many years,” the company told the Interfax news service on Monday. “Technical specialists periodically come to the country to repair and maintain previously supplied equipment.”

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