Russian Federation warns U.S. against military intervention in Venezuela

26 January, 2019, 02:31 | Author: Kevin Carter
  • A National Police officer fires rubber bullets during the protest against Maduro in Caracas

Guaido, 35, turned up the heat by declaring himself interim president on Wednesday before a mass of demonstrators in Caracas.

In a strongly-worded statement backing Moscow ally Maduro, the Russian foreign ministry warned that worldwide support for opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president Wednesday, was a "direct path to lawlessness and bloodshed".

The United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile and Colombia, among others, have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's interim president, while some other countries, including Russian Federation and Mexico, expressed support for incumbent President Maduro.

Russian Federation on Thursday warned the United States not to intervene militarily in Venezuela, saying such a move would trigger a catastrophic scenario, the Interfax news agency cited the deputy foreign minister as saying. Moscow will insist on compliance with worldwide law, Russia's RIA news agency cited Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Friday.

Venezuela's military brass pledged unwavering support to Maduro, delivering vows of loyalty Thursday before rows of green-uniformed officers on state television. Trump promised to use the "full weight" of US economic and diplomatic power to push for the restoration of Venezuela's democracy.

A video circulating on social media showed the same caravan leaving the embassy, a fortified compound overlooking the center of the Venezuelan capital.

US diplomats in Venezuela are caught in the midst of an ongoing power struggle, and with the Trump administration siding with the opposition, their security remains uncertain.

It did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the movement of embassy personnel on Friday.

More news: China's economic growth sinks to 3-decade low in 2018

The US called for the meeting on Thursday, a day after Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela's acting president, eliciting immediate backing from President Donald Trump.

That was when Guaido proclaimed himself acting president, with major regional players such as Brazil and Argentina following the U.S. lead in recognising his claim.

Guaido was recognized as interim president by the Lima Group countries (except for Mexico), as well as by Albania, Georgia, the United States, and the Organization of American States. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday his administration would be willing to mediate.

Maduro, in a fiery speech on Wednesday, said he was cutting off diplomatic relations with the United States for instigating a "coup" against him.

Maduro, who has led the oil-rich nation since 2013 and was re-elected past year in an election largely seen as a sham, severed diplomatic ties with the United States earlier this week.

"China has consistently pursued the principle of not interfering with other countries' internal politics, and opposes the interference (in) Venezuelan affairs by external forces", said Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a press briefing in Beijing.

In a video earlier this week, Guaido said the constitution requires the military to disavow Maduro after his May 2018 re-election, which was widely condemned by the worldwide community because his main opponents were banned from running.

Concerns about potential disruption of Venezuelan crude supplies gave support to global oil prices. Washington has signalled that it could impose new sanctions on Venezuela's vital oil sector. "We have supported them and will support them".

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