Moscow: sending Russian experts to Venezuela is taking place within the framework of respect for the law

 Moscow's decision to send military experts to Caracas takes Venezuelan law into account after Russian military planes dropped troops and equipment in the country, a foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

"Moscow is developing cooperation with Venezuela in strict accordance with the country's constitution with full respect for its laws," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

"The existence of Russian specialists on Venezuelan territory is subject to an agreement between the Russian and Venezuelan governments on military and technical cooperation signed in May 2001," she said.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington and Moscow entered into a standoff over Venezuela's political crisis after Russian planes landed at an airport outside Caracas at the end of the week, reportedly bringing down about 100 troops and 35 tonnes of military equipment.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Washington of seeking a "coup" in Venezuela, while his US counterpart warned that the United States would not stand idly by if Russia "continues to increase tension."

In her statement, Zakharova accused Washington of adopting an "aggressive rhetoric" on the issue.

Venezuela, rich in oil reserves, has sunk into a suffocating economic crisis amid excessive inflation and a severe shortage of food and medicine.

Washington and its allies are backing Venezuela's opposition parliament speaker Juan Guadillo, who has appointed himself acting president.

In contrast, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro sticks to power and enjoys the support of Russia and China politically and economically.

Moscow will continue "constructive cooperation" with Venezuela "for the benefit of the two countries," Zakharova said.

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