March 28, 2019 / 3:34 PM / 10 months ago

Pentagon chief dismisses Russian assurances on Venezuela

FILE PHOTO: Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan arrives to testify to the House Armed Forces Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan dismissed Russian assurances on Thursday that its troops in Venezuela posed no security threat, saying: “I’m not sure I always believe what they say.”

Russia said earlier in the day it had sent “specialists” to Venezuela under a military cooperation deal but said they posed no threat to regional stability, brushing aside a call from U.S. President Donald Trump to remove all military personnel from the country.

Shanahan, speaking to a small group of reporters in Florida, did not elaborate on what he thought the Russian forces were doing in Venezuela.

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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