Russia FM Sergei Lavrov slams US for attempting ‘coup’ in Venezuelan internal affairs

Moscow: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denounced Washington’s support for the Venezuelan opposition in their attempt to seize power as an intervention in the country’s internal affairs.

In a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Lavrov noted the latest situation in Venezuela where the opposition had tried to seize power with “obvious support” from the US, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The Russian side stressed that Washington’s interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state and threat against its leadership is a gross violation of international law,” Xinhua reported citing the statement.

On Tuesday, Venezuelan Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who had proclaimed himself as the interim president, reportedly called on the Venezuelan people and military to take to the streets to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, which was later frustrated by security forces.

Lavrov said only the Venezuelan people have the right to determine their destiny and that destructive external influence has nothing to do with a democratic process.

On the other hand, Pompeo criticized that Russia’s role in Venezuela is “destabilising” for the nation and urged Moscow to “cease support for Nicolas Maduro”, according to the US State Department.

Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova reportedly rejected Pompeo’s claim that Maduro was preparing to leave Venezuela but was talked out of it by Russia.

“Washington tried its best to demoralise the Venezuelan army and now used fakes as a part of information war,” she was quoted by Tass news agency as saying.

Guaido has called for the “largest march in the history”, calling on his supporters to take it to the streets on May 1 to protest to ratchet up pressure on Maduro to step down.

Reportedly, around 71 people lost their lives, including 42 wounded, as the nation witnessed one of the deadliest days ever since Guaido declared himself as the interim Venezuelan president in January, ratcheting up political crisis.

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