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Russia slams European 'interference' in Venezuela

File photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Moscow, Russia Feb 04, 2019, 03.54 PM (IST)

Russia on Monday slammed what it said were attempts to interfere in Venezuela's domestic affairs after several European countries recognised opposition chief Juan Guaido as interim leader.

"Attempts to legitimise usurped power" constituted "interference in Venezuela's internal affairs," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Such interference, he added, could not facilitate the "peaceful, effective and lasting settlement of the crisis the Venezuelans are going through."

Peskov reiterated Moscow's position that only the people of Venezuela could solve the crisis "which they should get through on their own."

He declined to say on what terms Russia could recognise Guaido as interim leader.

France, Spain and Britain on Monday became the latest nations to recognise Guaido as interim leader after President Nicolas Maduro defiantly rejected an ultimatum by European countries to call snap elections.

The 35-year-old National Assembly head has already been recognised by the United States, Canada, Australia and several Latin American countries.

If Maduro leaves power, Russia risks losing its long-cultivated top ally in Latin America and billions invested in oil and arms contracts.

Moscow has denounced the opposition's "usurpation of power", calling Maduro the crisis-hit country's legitimate leader.

The two countries have a long history of ties and Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez, known for his tirades against the United States, was a welcome guest at the Kremlin.

Story highlights

'Attempts to legitimise usurped power' constituted 'interference in Venezuela's internal affairs,' President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. France, Spain and Britain became the latest nations on Monday to recognise Venezuela's opposition chief Juan Guaido as the country's interim leader.