- The Washington Times
Thursday, January 24, 2019

Top Russian officials on Thursday warned the Trump administration not to intervene militarily in Venezuela and said the coordinated effort to push socialist President Nicolas Maduro from power in Caracas underscores the hypocrisy of the West.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow will support Mr. Maduro’s regime and that further attempts by the U.S. to achieve regime change would be catastrophic for the region.

“We warn against that,” Mr. Ryabkov said, as quoted by Reuters. “We consider that would be a catastrophic scenario that would shake the foundations of the development model which we see in Latin America.”

The U.S., along with the Organization of American States and a host of individual countries across the hemisphere, denounced the Maduro government on Wednesday and said they now recognize the country’s political opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as the Venezuelan president. The bold move comes amid a deteriorating social and economic situation in Venezuela and just a week after Mr. Maduro claimed a second six-year term following an election widely viewed as completely illegitimate.

Mr. Maduro responded to the global condemnation by breaking off diplomatic ties with the U.S., expelling American diplomats and vowing to not give up power.

Mr. Maduro has a few friends left in the region, such as Bolivia and Cuba. He also has a strong ally in Moscow.

Russian officials seized on Wednesday’s developments to paint the U.S. and its allies as hypocrites who do not respect the rights of sovereign nations.

“The events in Venezuela clearly demonstrate the real attitude of the progressive Western community toward international law, sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs of states by manually changing power there,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday, according to Russia’s Sputnik news outlet.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.