An image of the Russian-made SU-30 Flanker. Photo: United States Southern Command

The United States Southern Command criticized Russia as it released images Sunday of a Venezuelan fighter jet it said "aggressively shadowed" a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft flying over the Caribbean last week.

Details: The Russian-made SU-30 Flanker approached the U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries II "at an unsafe distance" in international airspace and in an "unprofessional manner" on Friday, the United States Southern Command said in a statement.

"This action demonstrates Russia’s irresponsible military support to [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro's illegitimate regime & underscores Maduro’s recklessness & irresponsible behavior, which undermines int’l rule of law & efforts to counter illicit trafficking."
— United States Southern Command statement

The other side: Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said the American plane entered Venezuelan airspace without earlier notification, violating international rules and endangering commercial flights from the country’s main airport, according to the Washington Post.

The big picture: The incident comes amid a months-long power struggle between Maduro and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has the support of the U.S. — which has imposed sanctions on the country in an attempt to pressure Maduro to step down.

Go deeper: In oil-rich Venezuela, fuel shortages spark man-made famines

Go deeper

The new buyout barons

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Last month I wrote that SPACs are the new IPOs. But I may have understated it, because SPACs are also becoming the new private equity.

By the numbers: Short for "special purpose acquisition company," SPACs have raised $24 billion so far in 2020, with a loaded pipeline of upcoming offerings. U.S. buyout firms raised nearly $102 billion through the end of June — a much larger amount, but not so much larger that the two can't play on the same field.

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Macron visits Beirut promising a "new political pact" for Lebanon

Macron visits the hard-hit Gemmayzeh neighborhood. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron walked through the blast-damaged streets of Beirut on Thursday, swarmed by people chanting for the fall of Lebanon's government and pleading for international aid.

Why it matters: Lebanon is at a breaking point. Its economy was collapsing and its government hardly functioning — all before a massive explosion destroyed swathes of the capital city, including its vital port.

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The PGA Championship is golf's first major in over a year

Photo: Gary Kellner/PGA of America via Getty Images

The 2020 PGA Championship tees off Thursday at San Francisco's TPC Harding Park, which is hosting its first-ever major.

Why it matters: It's the first major in more than a year — and the first of seven majors in the next 12 months. Though there won't be any fans in attendance, the excitement is palpable.