Russia slams ‘western’ interference in Venezuela

Russia slams ‘western’ interference in Venezuela

Agency News

Moscow, Jan 24: The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman on Thursday criticized western interference in Venezuela's internal affairs.

"The developments in Venezuela show very well how progressive western society really treats international law, sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of other states, by picking the government there [in Venezuela]," Maria Zakharova wrote in a Facebook post.

" Recognition of the rebel president in Venezuela is a prime example of Western disrespect for international law and sovereignty, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova", she added.

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president of the country, marking the most significant escalation in the ongoing feud between Washington and Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro slammed the decision and announced he was severing "diplomatic and political" ties with the United States, giving American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.

"I have decided to break diplomatic and political relations with the imperialist U.S. government," Maduro said in a speech to supporters gathered outside the presidential headquarters in Caracas. "Out they go from Venezuela, enough of interventionism," Maduro added, who was accompanied by his cabinet.

The announcement came hours after US President Donald Trump recognized Guaido as interim president in a statement issued by the White House, Xinhua reported. In addition, Trump has not ruled out the military option. He told reporters later in the day that "all options are on the table."

Despite of Maduro's strong response, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late Wednesday that U.S. diplomatic personnel in Venezuela would not leave, adding Washington would conduct diplomatic relations through the government of "interim president."

"The United States does not consider former president Nicolas Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the United States," Pompeo said in a statement.

Brazil and the Organization of American States had recognized Guaido as Venezuela's leader prior to his formal announcement. Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama and Paraguay have followed suit while Bolivia and Mexico continue to recognize Maduro.

Maduro has repeatedly lashed out at the U.S., saying Washington is waging an economic war against him and his government amid a sweeping sanctions campaign.

Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10 when Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition. (UNI)