Tue, 17 Sep 2019

Russia's foreign minister has warned the United States against interfering in Venezuela's internal affairs.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Sergei Lavrov made the comments to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephone call on February 12.

There was no immediate confirmation of the call from the State Department.

The Foreign Ministry said Lavrov told Pompeo that Russia was ready for consultations about Venezuela.

Moscow has provided billions in aid to the government of Venezuelan leader Nicholas Maduro in recent years, even as the country has slipped into economic chaos.

Washington, meanwhile, has backed opposition leader Juan Guaido and rallied international leaders to recognize him as the countrys rightful leader.

The Foreign Ministry said Lavrov also criticized plans to tighten U.S. sanctions against Russia over the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal in England, saying new sanctions would hurt bilateral ties.

The Financial Times reported on February 12 that the United States and the European Union were nearing agreement on new, joint sanctions against Russia over the Skripal poisoning, as well as the seizure of Ukrainian sailors by Russia in the Kerch Strait off Crimea.

With reporting by Reuters RFE/RL

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Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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