Russia has dismissed the political crisis engulfing Venezuela as an attempted coup while expressing concern over the role of external states and the potential for foreign military intervention, calling Juan Guaido’s move to declare himself president illegal.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday, “We are very concerned by statements that don’t rule out some kind of external intervention,” as cited by Bloomberg. “We consider such intervention unacceptable,” Peskov added while describing the internal unrest spilling into the streets after the catalyst of Monday’s failed military revolt of 27 officers in an opposition neighborhood of Caracas an “attempt to usurp power”.
Prior meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on December 5, 2018. Image source: AFP
This follows President Trump’s declaration that the US would only recognize the unelected head of the opposition-held National Assembly as “the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela.” A senior Trump administration official followed by saying “all options are on the table”.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said further in website statement that Washington’s joining a growing list of about a dozen other countries to recognize Guaido “is aimed at deepening the split in Venezuelan society, increasing the conflict on the streets, sharply destabilizing the internal political system and further escalation of the conflict.” And in words eerily similar to the brief international exchange of words over prior US action in places like Libya and Syria the ministry said that external armed intervention would be “fraught with catastrophic consequences.”
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The foreign ministry further described that the situation “has reached a dangerous point” and called on the international community to engage in diplomacy and mediation between the Maduro government and opposition.
And separately, a senior Russian official on Thursday warned the Trump administration against what he called the “catastrophic scenario”
of military intervention in the region. “We warn against this,”
Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said in an interview with International Affairs magazine, as cited in USA Today
. “We believe that this would be a catastrophic scenario that would shake the foundations of the development model we see in the Latin American region.”
Wednesday clashes with police, image via Rafael Hernández
In early December of last year President Nicholas Maduro visited Moscow to meet with President Vladimir Putin at a time when tensions with both countries and Washington were soaring. The leaders discussed Russia’s offering to throw cash-strapped Venezuela a multi-billion dollar life-line despite Caracas in the past being unable to pay its debts. During that trip, Maduro had called Russia a “brother country” with which Venezuela had “raised the flag for the creation of a multipolar and multicentric world.”
This meeting was followed by Russia briefly deploying two nuclear-capable “Blackjack” bombers to Venezuela as part of a joint training exercise meant to underscore the two countries’ growing military relations.