Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez on Saturday announced the start of a nationwide military drill, aimed at keeping the country battle ready in case of a foreign invasion.

Speaking from Macarao National Park, in the western state of Miranda, Padrino said “from this observation post (and) accompanied by all of my fellow soldiers… on Sunday we officially begin this drill,” Xinhua reported.

Some 200,000 military troops and 900,000 “combatants” are participating in the two-day drill, according to the army.

Padrino said that through the exercise, “we want to say to the world that there is an armed force in Venezuela and a people who are willing to give all of themselves to defend … our country.”

US President Donald Trump recently said he would not rule out a “military option” in Venezuela to oust President Nicolas Maduro from power.

First Published | 27 August 2017 6:56 AM
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