Moscow. A Russian official says Moscow will do all it can to prevent potential intervention in Venezuela by the United States, which has not ruled out the military option to overthrow the elected government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Valentina Matviyenko, the chairperson of Russia’s Federation Council — the upper house of the Russian legislature — made the comment at a meeting with Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez in Moscow on Sunday.
“We are very much concerned that the US could carry out any provocations to shed blood, to find a cause and reasons for an intervention in Venezuela,” Matviyenko said, stressing that Moscow “will do all in order not to allow this.”
Venezuela has been in political turmoil over the past weeks. The opposition has been holding widespread anti-government protests, blaming Maduro for an ailing economy, hyperinflation, power cuts, and shortages of basic items, and urging him to resign.
Opposition figure Juan Guaido, 35, further plunged the country into political chaos on January 23, when he proclaimed himself the “interim president” of Venezuela, a bizarre move that was nevertheless met with US President Donald Trump’s immediate support.
Canada, a number of right-leaning Latin American countries, and several European Union member states followed suit with America. Other countries, including Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran, have expressed support for the elected government in Venezuela and condemned any foreign interference in the country.
Matviyenko echoed earlier remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that foreign countries were violating international law by recognizing Guaido as “interim president” of Venezuela.
“(We believe that it is) especially cynical on the part of the countries, which present themselves as supporters of democracy in the world, to try to overthrow the sitting president and the government and to appoint an opposition politician as the head of the country from the outside,” Matviyenko said, adding, “All this together with the threats of military intervention is a gross violation of international law and a major violation of the UN Charter.”
Maduro retains the loyalty of the armed forces. Guaido has been urging the military to defect, promising them future amnesty, though only a few military officials have so far disavowed the incumbent president.
Rodriguez, for her part, called the US support of Guaido and its interference in Venezuela’s domestic affairs a “great menace” facing her country, but she said it had at the same time created a “great opportunity” for Venezuela to become “independent once and for all and to strengthen the ties of friendship, cooperation and unity with the free world.”
‘Russia ready for bilateral talks with US about Venezuela’
Separately on Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said in a phone call to his American counterpart, Mike Pompeo, that Moscow was ready to hold bilateral talks with Washington over the political turmoil in Venezuela.
“In connection with Washington’s proposal to hold bilateral consultations on the Venezuelan topic, it was stated that Russia is ready to participate in this,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The statement added that it was “vital” for the talks to “be strictly guided by the principles of the UN Charter since only the Venezuelan people have the right to determine their future.”
On Thursday, Russia and China vetoed a US- and European-backed resolution at the United Nations that would have called for a new presidential election in Venezuela and unimpeded deliveries of humanitarian aid.