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Moscow still supports Maduro — Kremlin

Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, declared himself interim president on January 23
 Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov Vitaliy Nevar/TASS
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Vitaliy Nevar/TASS

MOSCOW, February 7. /TASS/. Moscow keeps holding its stance firmly regarding the support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

"The position of Kremlin remains unchanged," Peskov told journalists commenting on a recent report from Bloomberg that Moscow allegedly started doubting the necessity of keep providing its support for the Venezuelan president.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday citing its unnamed sources close to the Kremlin that "Russia is starting to show signs of doubt about his ability to survive an opposition challenge." According to the agency, "While Moscow hasn’t given up its public backing of Maduro, it increasingly recognizes that the disastrous state of Venezuela’s economy is inexorably draining what remains of his public support," while "the army’s reluctance to crack down on its own citizens limits his ability to use force to crush the challenge to his rule."

Asked by journalists whether the Kremlin was preparing to help with the evacuation of Maduro from Venezuela, Peskov said "No. This issue has neither been discussed nor raised."

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.