In Venezuela, on 23 March, there arrived two Russian transport aircraft, from the data service for tracking the movements of aircraft CivMilAir. The Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional claims that the two sides in Caracas was transferred a group of Russian military headed by Colonel-General Vasily by Tonkoshkura.

Photo: @FedericoBlackB / Twitter

El Nacional refers to data published on Twitter journalist Javier Mallorca. He argues that in the airport of Caracas arrived “group of 99 Russian soldiers” under the command of Colonel-General Tonkoshkura. At the airport they were met by Marianne Mata, head of division for international Affairs and inclusion the Venezuelan defense Ministry (name and position of the official is confirmed by publicly available documents of the military Department). Shortly thereafter, in the same terminal came another plane, this time a cargo. He argues Majorca, brought 35 tons of cargo destined for the group of the Russian military.

Mallorca does not mention the source from where he got the information. To confirm his words he cited photos published in Twitter user FedericoBlackB (in the profile description says it belongs to the consultant in the field of digital communication and the forensic investigation of corruption Federico black). The photographs show the two aircraft in the livery colors of the Russian flag — An-124-100 “Ruslan” and Il-62M tail number RA-86496. Il-62M with this number, according to open sources, refers to the 223-rd flight unit, subordinated to the Ministry of defence.

Hoy llegaron al aeropuerto Internacional de Maiquetía estos dos aviones de la Fuerza Aerea rusa.

1 Ilyushin Il-62M
1 Antomov 124

Fotos: cortesía

— Federico B. Black (@FedericoBlackB) 23 Mar 2019

The photos of the plane shows a group of people, some of them dressed in military uniform sandy color. The user Cristian F. Crespo has also published a video of the Russian Antonov An-124 at the airport.

Uno de los dos aviones rusos que llegaron ayer a la rampa presidencial en Maiquetía, #Venezuela. 99 militares y el Ministro de la Defensa Ruso, y otro avión con “materiales”.

— Cristian Crespo F. (@cristiancrespoj) 24 Mar 2019

Data monitoring service CivMilAir supervising the movements of the aircraft, confirm that on March 23, in the direction of Venezuela has flown two aircraft: the Il-62M RA-86496 and cargo An-124-100 with tail number RA-82035. Both aircraft headed towards Latin America from Syria.

According to the tracking service FlightRadar, the An-124 Russian air force, tail number RA-82035 22 Mar really made the flight from the airfield near Moscow Chkalovsky in the Syrian airport of Latakia. From the airport Chkalovsky he soared 15.12, 16.05 from Chkalovsky has taken off and the Il-62M.

A few hours after arriving in Venezuela, the transport took off and went in the opposite direction.

Russian An-124 and Il-62 with these tail numbers is not the first time to pay a visit to Venezuela. According to the service MilRadar in December 2018 two of the same plane was accompanied by strategic bombers Tu-160, which arrived in Caracas from Russia for exercises.

Colonel-General Vasily Tonkoshkura, of which Majorca calls the commander of the Russian military in 2013 held the position of chief of the Main organizational-mobilization Directorate of the General staff of the armed forces. In may 2018, he was appointed to the post of chief of army staff.

RBC sent a request to the Russian Embassy in Caracas.

In early March the Il-62M RA-86496 made a flight from Sheremetyevo to Caracas and back, wrote “Novaya Gazeta”. Part of the way he did with a disabled transponder that did not fully track its route.

Planes 223-aircraft division make regular flights to the Russian base in Syria. This unit of the defense Ministry belonged crashed in December 2016 Tu-154 EN route to Latakia. As he wrote, “Radio Liberty” with reference to FlightRadar, the Il-62M RA-86496 more than any other aircraft 223-rd flight unit was flown in Hamim.

In January Reuters reported that employees of Russian PMCs provide protection to the President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro. The Venezuelan foreign Ministry has denied this information. Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, who oversees the defence sector, January 31, also denied the presence of Russian troops in a Latin American country.