Pompeo warns Russia against Venezuela interference

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and called on Moscow “to cease its unconstructive behaviour” in Venezuela, the State Department said in a statement

In the phone call, Pompeo told Lavrov that “the US and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela”, reports Xinhua news agency.

Pompeo noted that the presence of Russian military personnel in Venezuela “risks prolonging the suffering of the Venezuelan people”.

In response, Lavrov said: “Washington’s attempts to organize a coup in Venezuela and threats against its legitimate government are in violation of the UN Charter and undisguised interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.”

Monday’s development comes after two Russian air force planes landed in Venezuela on March 23 carrying a defense official and nearly 100 troops, reports said.

The US has been pursuing a policy of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation against the Venezuelan government, in support of the opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Moscow has condemned Washington’s threats against the legitimate Venezuelan leadership, calling them “blatant interference” in the South American nation’s internal affairs and a “flagrant violation” of international law.

US President Donald Trump’s administration recognized Guaido as the nation’s “interim president” on January 23, days after incumbent Nicolas Maduro was inaugurated for a second term.

In response, Maduro severed “diplomatic and political” ties with the US.

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