US. Authorities said a Venezuelan fighter had "aggressively shadowed" an American intelligence aircraft flying over the Caribbean in international airspace, bolstering growing tensions between the two nations. The US Southern Command said Sunday that Venezuela's action shows "reckless" behavior by President Nicolás Maduro, whose government accused the US plane of entering Venezuela's airspace. The authorities said that their EP-3 aircraft carried out a multinational mission on Friday and that the Venezuelan SU-30 fighter aircraft was close behind. "The EP-3 aircraft has adhered to international standards and regulations," the US Southern Command said in a statement.
The response of the Venezuelan fighter plane "undermines the rule of law and efforts to combat illegal trade." The US authorities tweeted and gave a video of the Russian-made jet.
The Trump Administration and more than Fifty other nations support opposition leader Juan Guaidó's attempt to oust Maduro, whom they accuse of leading the country into a historic crisis. The socialist leader continues to support countries such as Cuba, China and Russia.
"This recent action also demonstrates Russia's irresponsible military support for the illegitimate Maduro regime and contributes to Maduro's growing heritage of reckless and negligent behavior," US officials said in a statement.
Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said the US plane entered Venezuela's airspace without prior notice and violated international rules. He said the flight also jeopardized commercial flights from Venezuela's main airport.
After the plan was identified as an American electronic news gathering aircraft, the fighter jet escorted him out of the region, the Venezuelan authorities said, adding that there were 76 such incidents a year ago.
"The Venezuelan forces are resolutely opposed to this kind of provocation by the United States of America," Padrino López said in a statement. "We will always be vigilant to guard the peace of the Venezuelan people."
Marco Rubio, a severe critic of Maduro, warned Venezuela while tweeting video footage of the fighter jet. 19659004] #Venezuela has only 3 fighter jets that can fly.
If they ever damaged a US plane, they would soon be zero. https://t.co/nYRIt7tDYg[19459005<-MarcoRubio(@marcorubio) July 21, 2019