Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Russian defense officials say strategic bombers flew over the Caribbean Sea for about 10 hours this week, prompting concerns from other countries in the region.
The Russian defense ministry said Wednesday two Tu-160 bombers flew accompanied, in accordance to international laws, after arriving in Venezuela earlier in the week, the state-run news agency TASS reported.
"During the international visit of the Aerospace Defense Forces' delegation to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, pilots of strategic bombers Tu-160 conducted a flight in the airspace over the Caribbean Sea. The flight lasted for about 10 hours," the Russian defense statement said.
"In certain parts of the route, the flight of Russian bombers was conducted together with Su-30 and F-16 fighter jets of the Venezuelan National Bolivarian Military Aviation. The pilots from the two countries practiced air cooperation when fulfilling air tasks."
The Organization of American States said Wednesday the act violates Venezuela's constitution because it was never authorized by the Caracas legislators.
"Likewise, this action may also be in violation of fundamental norms of international law," the group said. "Venezuela is a state party to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, whose first article prohibits the receipt, storage or possession of nuclear weapons by states party or by third parties in their territory."
The OAS added that Russia's appearance in Venezuela and over the Caribbean was "outside the constitutional framework of the countries, and far from the transparency and mutual trust that should guide these activities."
Diosdado Cabello, president of Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly, dismissed the criticism.
"Oh, those poor opposition leaders, who called for military intervention in Venezuela yesterday," Cabello wrote on social media, TASS reported. "Multinational armed forces were invited every day for an incursion here. But a sudden visit courtesy of Russia's aviation and (everyone) went completely off their rocker. It's one thing to summon the devil, but it's another to see him approaching."
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized this week the arrival of Russian bombers in Venezuela, calling it "two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer."
Russian Defense Minister Dmitry Peskov called Pompeo's comments undiplomatic and inappropriate.