Russia on Thursday slammed foreign interference in Venezuela and denounced the opposition’s “usurpation of power”, calling President Nicolas Maduro the Latin American country’s legitimate leader.
In a strongly-worded statement backing Maduro, the Russian foreign ministry warned that international support for opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president Wednesday, was a “direct path to lawlessness and bloodshed”.
“Only Venezuelans have the right to determine their future. Destructive outside interference, especially in the current extremely tense situation, is unacceptable,” it said.
In a separate statement to reporters, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman slammed attempts by the opposition to usurp power.
“We consider the attempted usurpation of power in Venezuela as… a breach of the foundations of international law,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a conference call.
“Maduro is the legitimate head of state,” he affirmed.
Shortly after Guaido announced himself Venezuela’s interim leader on Wednesday, the United States and several South American nations recognized Venezuelan Guaido as interim leader, while the UN urged dialogue in Caracas to avoid “disaster”.
Moscow warned Washington against any attempts to militarily intervene in Venezuela.
“We caution against any such reckless steps fraught with catastrophic consequences,” the foreign ministry said.
Moscow said Washington’s “cavalier” actions in the country showed that the United States ignored norms of international law, claiming it wanted to push through a change of power in Venezuela.