What Happened: Venezuelan Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino Lopez and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu have signed an agreement to allow warships from both countries to visit each other's ports, Tass reported Aug. 15.
Why It Matters: The agreement serves as a notable signpost of increasing defense cooperation between Russia and Venezuela amid ongoing U.S. pressure on Caracas. Although Moscow hasn't been substantially increasing its military deployments to Venezuela in recent months, Russia has made it clear it would continue to support the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
Background: Russia deployed roughly 100 troops and military staff, as well as 35 metric tons of cargo, to Venezuela in March. This adds to its existing security presence, which already consisted of up to several hundred troops and mercenaries.