NEW YORK, May 1. /TASS/. United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro was preparing to leave Venezuela, but was talked out of it by Russia, he said in an interview with CNN.
"He had an airplane on the tarmac, he was ready to leave this morning as we understand it and the Russians indicated he should stay."
Pompeo said that US had information that Maduro was preparing to leave the country for Cuba, and Russia stopped him.
Earlier on Tuesday, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido published a video on Twitter, in which he urged the Venezuelan military to take to the streets in order to "end the usurpation" in the country. A group of military officers and head of the Popular Will party Leopoldo Lopez also appear in the video. There have been reports of shooting and release of tear gas near the road leading up to the Francisco de Miranda Airbase in Caracas, where Guaido recorded the video.
Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and speaker of the National Assembly, 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, Caracas, on January 23. On the same day, the United States recognized him as an interim president, and the countries of the Lima Group (excluding Mexico) and the Organization of American States followed suit. Venezuela's incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted the move as an attempted coup and announced cutting diplomatic ties with the United States.
Most European Union member states recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president. Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro.