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Lavrov: Russia ‘condemns’ what it calls US moves to topple Venezuela’s Maduro

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (U.S. State Department/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has condemned what the Kremlin calls the “irresponsible plans” of the United States aimed at toppling Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Washington views Maduro’s reelection last year as illegitimate and has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president.

Speaking at a meeting on May 5 in Moscow with his Venezuelan counterpart Jorge Arreaza, Lavrov accused the United States of leading “an unprecedented campaign” to oust “Venezuela’s legitimate authorities.”

“We condemn this campaign. It is only up to the Venezuelans to decide about the future of their country and an inclusive dialogue between all political forces is needed for that. Attempts at a violent coup in Caracas have nothing to do with the democratic process and only frustrate prospects for political settlement of the crisis,” he said.

Moscow, which has substantial economic ties to Maduro’s government, sent planes to Venezuela in March, carrying nearly 100 military personnel who the U.S. government believes included special forces and cybersecurity experts to Venezuela.

“We call on both the Americans and those who support them to drop irresponsible plans and act exclusively within the frames of international law,” Lavrov added.