Washington’s use of military force against Caracas may be a real scenario rather than just an abstraction, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday, TASS reported.
"The United States has been making statements about a military scenario against Venezuela more frequently," Zakharova said. In this regard, she criticized a Foreign Policy magazine interview of head of US Southern Command Admiral Craig Faller. "His tough and aggressive tone once again confirms our fears that the US military operation in Venezuela is not just an abstraction but a possible reality," the Russian diplomat noted.
According to Foreign Policy, when asked about US plans for a military intervention to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in favor of opposition leader Juan Guaido, Faller "said the military is ‘looking at a range’ of options and ‘will be ready’ for whatever decision the president makes." "We are on the balls of our feet," Faller said, as cited by the magazine.
Zakharova went on to say that "the US seeks to contain Russia’s influence in Venezuela, which is the reason why it is getting ready for a military intervention." She added there was information that US National Security Adviser John Bolton had instructed the Pentagon to develop a plan to respond to Russia’s alleged interference in Venezuela’s affairs. "We would like to reiterate once again that Russia acts in Venezuela in coordination with the country’s legitimate government. We deal with legitimate authorities, while the US deals with impostors, so US allegations about Russia’s meddling in Venezuela’s affairs sound ridiculous," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman concluded.
On January 23, Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas
Several countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US. On February 4, most of the European Union member states recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.
In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference. The United Nations secretary general, in turn, called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.