Two Venezuelan Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets have entered the Guyanese airspace on March 2, 2020, country’s officials claim.

According to the statement by the Guyanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the jets circled the community of Eteringbang and its airstrip, before returning back to the Venezuelan side. 

Local media report that the alleged incursion was noted by employees of a police station, as well as a Guyana Defense Force base located nearby.

Venezuelan ambassador was summoned and handed a protest note, a statement by Guyana Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Hugh Todd says.

“The incursion of our territory of the two Venezuelan fighter jets is a clear indication that the government of Venezuela is prepared to use aggression and intimidation to accomplish what cannot be accomplished by legal means - the surrender by Guyana of its patrimony,” Ministry’s statement says.

Venezuela denied the allegations, with Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza issuing a statement that called Guyana’s claims “a false narrative”, intended to push “a campaign of defamation and victimization”. According to the statement, conducted flights were a regular border patrol that did not intrude into disputed territory.

Guyana and Venezuela are locked in a long-simmering dispute over the large, sparsely populated, but mineral-rich territory of Guayana Esequiba, which is administered by Guyana, but claimed by Venezuela. The conflict was dormant for the better half of the 20th century, but got reheated in the last decades, as oil reserves were found in its territorial waters.