A Venezuelan fighter jet "shadowed" an American reconnaissance plane that flew over the Caribbean last week, military officials said Sunday.
The Russian-made SU-30 Flanker approached US Navy EP-3 Aries II Friday on an "unsafe distance" and "unprofessionally" as the plane flew in legal international airspace, United States Southern said Command in a statement with.
US Southern Command said it made that decision after reviewing the video documentation.
" The US routinely conducts internationally recognized and approved detection and surveillance missions in the region to ensure the safety of our citizens and our partners, "the statement said.
US According to Southern Command, the incident underscored Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's disregard of international laws and agreements, as well as Russia's "irresponsible military support" for an "illegitimate regime" and other countries support Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who sees himself as legitimate Leader of the country has designated.
The Trump administration first announced sanctions two years ago after Maduro won a presidential election that American officials called a hoax.
Venezuela was plagued by hyperinflation and widespread shortages of basic goods and gasoline. Maduro blamed these sanctions for the crisis, while Maduro's critics blamed mismanagement and corruption within the government.
Venezuela, which has the largest producible oil reserves in the world, owes Russia billions of dollars on loans it has received in exchange for loans, oil fields and military equipment.