Just hours after meeting with the Russian foreign deputy minister in Caracas, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced he was accepting medical aid from Russia.
In a televised event Maduro, seated at a conference table with members of the medical profession stated that “an assortment of medical supplies are being brought in by the Bolivarian Air Force with the technical aid of the Russian Federation and the Pan American Health Organization”.
“Today, arriving in Venezuela is a very important shipment of medication. Some 7.5 tons of medication are arriving from Russia, medication to continue to equip everything that has to do with the needs for medication our country has,” he said.
The Trump administration is accusing President Nicolas Maduro of starving Venezuelans by blocking tons of American-supplied humanitarian aid stored next door in Colombia.
In Russia, the Kremlin sees the opposition’s plan to ram the aid across the border as a reckless pretext for ordering a US military intervention.
As tensions in Venezuela mount ahead of a Saturday showdown over humanitarian aid, both sides are digging in, highlighting how the South American nation's crisis has become the latest fault line in a battle for global influence by the former Cold War adversaries.
“We have the support of Cuba, Russia, China, Turkey, India and Palestine,” said Maduro.
He also told Venezuelans that his government had accepted "the offer for technical humanitarian assistance from the European Union through the system of the United Nations to Venezuela."
It is unclear which European Union representatives met with Venezuelan government officials.
On Monday the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said during a news conference that five representatives of the EU's International Contact Group were banned from entering Venezuela over the weekend on the grounds that they were conspiring against the government.
The European Parliament and most of the members of the European Union recognize Guaido as interim president and have urged President Nicolas Maduro to call for free elections in Venezuela as a way out of the crisis.