BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:05 A.M.) – On Thursday, Venezuela condemned the actions of the U.S. Navy as one of its destroyers approached their Bolivarian Republic’s shores.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, said in a statement, as quoted by the AFP, on Thursday that the placement of the guided missile destroyer USS William B. Lawrence off the coast reveals an “intention to intimidate” Caracas.
Arreaza added that the warship was within the Venezuelan maritime zone, which is 24 miles in length, specifically at a distance of 16.1 nautical miles from the Venezuelan coast.
Tensions between the United States and Venezuela have escalated in recent months, after Iran sent five tankers to help ease a fuel shortage in the South American country.
The Foreign Ministry statement stated that the ship claimed it was carrying out “periodic operations against drug trafficking.”
“This is clearly a deliberate provocative act, and it is also disorganized and childish,” said Arreaza.
The U.S.’ close approach came shortly after the Iranian gas tanker, Forest, reached the Venezuelan shores to deliver much needed fuel to the Bolivarian Republic.
Last week, the U.S. imposed new sanctions against the Venezuelan government and its associates, as Washington continues its campaign to isolate Caracas globally.