The Russian newspaper, Sputnik, reports that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo that the continuation of the US’ “aggressive steps” toward Venezuela is fraught with “serious consequences.”
This after Pompeo told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday that President Nicolas Maduro was ready to leave Venezuela for Cuba Tuesday morning but has convinced by Russia to stay.
The Russian foreign ministry dismissed Pompeo’s claim, Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova calling the claim ‘fake news’ and part of the US misinformation aimed against Venezuela.
Venezuelan officials similarly dismissed Pompeo’s claim as “fake news,” adding that it demonstrated the failure of the ‘US-backed coup attempt.’
On Wednesday, Pompeo also said that US military action in Venezuela ‘possible’. The US Secretary of State said that the administration of President Donald Trump was prepared to take military action to stem the crisis in Venezuela.
“The president has been crystal clear and incredibly consistent. Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do,” Pompeo said on Fox Business Network on Wednesday morning.
“It was indicated that the continuation of aggressive steps is fraught with the most serious consequences. Only the Venezuelan people have the right to determine their destiny, for which dialogue between all political forces in the country is needed, and for which the government has long called for. Destructive pressure from outside, especially force, has nothing to do with the democratic process,” Lavrov said, according to a statement summarizing his remarks which was published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.
Reports say Lavrov and Pompeo spoke by telephone on Wednesday, the call was requested by the US.
The two men also spoke about other issues, including future Russian-US diplomatic contacts, and the humanitarian situation in Syria also touched upon, according to the foreign ministry.
On Tuesday, Venezuela’s opposition gathered in Caracas, calling on the military to join them for the “final phase” of their “Operacion Libertad” (Operation Freedom) campaign to oust the Maduro government.
Clashes between the opposition and the security forces left at least 71 people injured, and prompted President Maduro to announce on television that he had appointed prosecutors to investigate an attempted coup in the country.