The American authorities would act “decisively” if Russia deployed its military to Latin America, the White House said on Thursday, following suggestions that Moscow could station some of its troops in Venezuela or Cuba.
United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called the idea “bluster in the public commentary” and noted that the deployment of Russian military infrastructure to Latin America was not a point of discussion at the recent Russia-US Strategic Stability Dialogue in Geneva.
“If Russia were to move in that direction, we would deal with it decisively,” he said, responding to a question from a journalist.
The US opposition to Russian troop placement in the Americas may raise some eyebrows in Moscow, which has repeatedly complained about US armed forces being located near Russia’s western frontier.
The suggestion that Russia may send troops to Latin America came during an interview with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on TV channel RTVI. When asked about the possibility of deployment, Ryabkov could neither confirm nor deny that it is in the Kremlin’s plans.
“It’s the American style to have several options for its foreign and military policy,” he said. “That’s the cornerstone of that country’s powerful influence in the world.”
“The president of Russia has spoken multiple times on the subject of what the measures could be, for example involving the Russian Navy, if things are set on the course of provoking Russia, and further increasing the military pressure on us by the US,” Ryabkov continued. “We don’t want that. The diplomats must come to an agreement.”
Ryabkov met with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Monday to discuss Russian proposals on security guarantees, including, among other things, a demand for the end of NATO’s eastward expansion. Washington has rejected Moscow’s proposal as a nonstarter.