Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denounced Washington's 'destructive' support for Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido, who lately claimed the backing of the armed forces in a short-lived coup against President Nicolas Maduro.

Iran Press/Europe: "Washington's interference in Venezuelan affairs is a flagrant violation of international law," Lavrov said in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday.

Lavrov also criticized the threats made by the US officials, especially US President Donald Trump, about the use of force against Maduro, adding that "the pursuit of these aggressive steps is fraught with consequences", Russia Today reported.

Meanwhile, Pompeo, in his turn, censured Russia and Cuba for supporting Venezuela's leftist government.

"The intervention by Russia and Cuba is destabilizing for Venezuela and for the US-Russia bilateral relationship," US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement quoting Pompeo.

Pompeo also "urged Russia to cease support for Nicolas Maduro and join other nations, including the overwhelming majority of countries in the Western Hemisphere, who seek a better future for the Venezuelan people," Ortagus added.

The Trump administration is trying to apply economic pressure to Venezuela's left-leaning government, headed by president Nicolas Maduro, and at the same time the administration has also threatened to take military action against Venezuela.

Venezuela's opposition, so keen to get rid of Maduro, are also egging on the Trump administration to take military action against Caracas.

The new political crisis in Venezuela began when Guaido called himself president on 23 January, with the Trump administration immediately backing his claim. The Venezuelan government described Guido's action as an attempted coup d'etat against the elected president Nicholas Maduro. 105


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