Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Russia Monday the United States will not “stand idly by” as Moscow inserts military personnel into Venezuela to support the regime of President Nicolas Maduro.
Pompeo told Lavrov “the United States and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela,” the State Department said in a statement.
“The continued insertion of Russian military personnel to support the illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela risks prolonging the suffering of the Venezuelan people who overwhelmingly support interim President Juan Guaido,” he said.
The US has officially recognized Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela. The government will place strict sanctions on Venezuelan oil. Some have hinted at military action, but will that be necessary?
Sergei Lavrov reacted later on Monday by releasing a statement accusing the United States of plotting a “coup” against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Guaido is supported by the United States and most Latin American and European nations but he retains the support of Russia and China, US rivals who have offered political and economic support to him.
Pompeo urged Russia to “cease its unconstructive behavior” and support Guaido.
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