Russia slams Trump's stance in Venezuela

Russia slams Trump's stance in Venezuela

Russia slams Trump's stance in Venezuela Izvor: AFP

China, Turkey and Syria have joined Russia in criticizing the United States for recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the South American country's interim president.

Those countries issued strong statements declaring support for beleaguered President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn in for a second term earlier this month, while others have disputed his legitimacy as his nation faces a deep economic crisis.

"We warn everyone, not just the US, but some others that can entertain these ideas from this type of action," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told CNN's Frederik Pleitgen in an exclusive interview Thursday.

So far, more than a dozen other countries have followed the United States in welcoming Guaido, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Spain, as well as the Organization of American States.

But Russia's allies have firmly rejected those supporting 35-year-old Guaido -- who swore himself into office Wednesday and declared that Maduro had been deposed -- setting the stage for a struggle for Venezuela's future both within and outside the country.

Ryabkov told CNN that by recognizing Guaido the United States was "meddling."
"I truly feel that there are dangerous signs of something going on along these lines," he added.

"I mean it's just pouring gas on fire.

"The resort to military power would be catastrophic. ... It would be another huge blow to the international system. We face a scenario that may lead to further bloodshed in Venezuela."

In December, signs pointed to Russia and Venezuela deepening ties as the Kremlin extended a lifeline to the cash-strapped country by agreeing to restructure $3.15 billion of debt payments that it owes Moscow. Venezuela also owes debts to China, oil service providers, airlines and a slew of other entities.

During a conference call with reporters Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated that Russia considered the interference "to usurp power in Venezuela to be illegal and contrary to international law."

Maduro hit back at Trump's announcement by cutting ties with the United States and ordering all American diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours, but the White House dismissed the order as "meaningless." Maduro has since decided to close the country's embassy and consulates in the United States.

The United States has requested an open meeting of the UN Security Council on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela on Saturday morning, the US Mission to the United Nations said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Venezuela's armed forces pledged allegiance to Maduro on Thursday and accused the far right of installing a "parallel de facto government" and leading a "coup against Venezuela's democracy."

With unrest in the streets and foreign powers taking sides, Venezuela has entered an increasingly precarious political crisis, even prompting the UN secretary-general to plead for dialogue to prevent "total disaster."

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