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West may have funded protests targeting Venezuelan embassies, Russian diplomat says

Maria Zakharova stressed that developments in Venezuela were the country’s internal affair

MOSCOW, January 11. /TASS/. The West may have funded protests targeting Venezuela’s embassies in various countries, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Friday.

According to her, Moscow is well aware who funded protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s inauguration, as well as "many other performances." "Funds particularly came from the budgets of [Western] countries with direct information support from Brussels," Zakharova said.

She stressed that developments in Venezuela were the country’s internal affair. "We have on numerous occasions called for refraining from meddling in Venezuela’s domestic affairs and give the country’s people a chance to resolve their issues through legal methods," the Russian diplomat pointed out.

On January 10, Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for his second term as Venezuela’s president. The ceremony took place in the Supreme Court building instead of the National Assembly, as the Venezuelan parliament has been under control of the president’s political opponents since December 2015. Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) Deputy Chairman Ilyas Umakhanov represented Russia.

The presidential election in Venezuela took place on May 20. Maduro received nearly 6.2 mln votes, while his main rival Henri Falcon, representing the Progressive Advance party, garnered 1.9 mln votes. Voter turnout was 45.99%. On January 4, members of the Lima Group refused to recognize Maduro’s second term. Argentine, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia called on him to refrain from taking office and hand power over to the National Assembly.