Kremlin-linked military contractors have flown to Venezuela to provide security for Nicolas Maduro, reports say, as the president says he is willing to engage in talks with the opposition. While the US intensified its push to drive the Venezuelan president from power, Russia has vowed to back its South American ally. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo is set to brief the UN Security Council on 26 January after the US and a string of countries in the region said they recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation’s legitimate head of state and urged Mr Maduro to step down.
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