Russia condemns ‘illegal’ US sanctions on Venezuelan oil and China warns against ‘external interference’ – amid warnings the South American country faces ‘imminent open war’

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
By Paul Martin

Moscow slam US sanctions against Venezuela’s state oil company as ‘illegal’
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said they ‘violate all possible international norms’
Lavrov promised that Russia will ‘do everything to support President Maduro’
China warned US sanctions will complicate the situation in the crisis-hit country
Opposition leader Juan Guaido said he hoped for a peaceful transition, but echoed US President Donald Trump when he said ‘all options are on the table’
Ex-President of Uruguay José Mujica said Venezuela faces ‘imminent open war’
Mujica said Trump declaring a military option as on the table had ‘the smell of oil’

By SARA MALM
DAILYMAIL.COM
29 January 2019

Russia has condemned US sanctions against Venezuela’s state oil company as ‘illegal’ while China has warned they will hurt the livelihoods of ordinary people and complicate the situation in the crisis-hit country.

The sanctions will hit state-owned PDVSA, Venezuela’s largest source of revenue, as President Nicolas Maduro faces a challenge from opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has won the backing of the US and other Western nations.

The warnings from Beijing have been echoed by the former president of Uruguay, José Mujica, who said ‘the drums of war are sounding strong,’ and that Venezuela is facing ‘imminent open conflict’.

This comes as Guaido declared all options are on the table when asked about a possible military option in Venezuela during an interview with CNN.

Guaido said he believed he could achieve a peaceful transition away from Maduro and eventually free elections.

However, he also said he had spoken to US President Donald Trump a number of times and, when asked about possible military options in Venezuela, said all options were on the table.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later certified that Guaido has been given authority to take control of bank accounts that Venezuela’s government has in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or any other U.S.-insured banks.

Pompeo said Tuesday the certification will ‘help Venezuela’s legitimate government safeguard those assets for the benefit of the Venezuelan people.’

Maduro responded by addressing the US President directly in a speech in Caracas today.

Foregoing his native Spanish for English, Maduro said: ‘Donald Trump, do not get involved with Venezuela! Hands off Venezuela! Donald Trump, hands off Venezuela!’

Maduro has strong backing from Russia, with Moscow ‘wholly supporting’ his view that the sanctions are illegal.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the sanctions an ‘overt intervention in Venezuela’s domestic affairs’ and a case of ‘illegal competition’.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the sanctions ‘violate all possible international norms’ and show a course toward regime change in embattled Venezuela.

‘The US has… publicly taken a course toward illegal regime change,’ he said Tuesday, adding that Russia will ‘do everything to support the legitimate government of president Maduro.’

In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said his government opposes unilateral sanctions against Venezuela.

‘Historical experience has proved that external interference or sanctions will only complicate the situation and will not help solve practical problems,’ Geng said.

The sanctions ‘will lead to a deterioration of the people’s livelihoods in Venezuela, and (those who imposed them) should be responsible for the serious consequences.’

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