MOSCOW, February 4. /TASS/. Moscow has labeled the attempts by other countries to legitimize the usurpation of power in Venezuela as meddling into the country’s internal affairs, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
The Russian presidential spokesman thus responded to a journalist’s question about the circumstances under which Russia could recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the republic’s interim president.
"Any solution to the internal political crisis in Venezuela is possible only by Venezuelans themselves," the Kremlin spokesman stressed.
"Imposing any solutions or efforts aimed at legitimizing the attempt of usurping power is, in our view, just direct and indirect meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs," Peskov said.
"This does not contribute in any way to the peaceful, effective and vital settlement to the crisis, which Venezuelans are enduring and who should, as we believe, pull through it on their own," the Kremlin spokesman noted.
Slow-motion coup in Venezuela
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 on January 23.
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 as president. Subsequently, Venezuela's incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted these actions as an attempted coup and said he was cutting diplomatic ties with the United States.
Defying European pressure, Maduro shrugged off an ultimatum by EU states demanding early elections. France, Spain, Sweden and the UK announced Monday that they were recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president after an eight-day deadline for Maduro to call elections had not been met. Furthermore, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stated that Guaido had the ability and the legitimacy to organize new presidential elections.
In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador 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.
On January 29, Washington slapped sanctions on the Venezuelan oil producer PDVSA and later transferred control of some of Venezuela’s assets in US banks to Guaido.