MOSCOW, August 15. /TASS/. Russia supports Venezuela’s determination to carry out independent foreign policy and fight against US attempts to change the country’s legally elected government, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated on Thursday during a meeting with his Venezuelan colleague Vladimir Padrino Lopez.
"We closely monitor the events taking place in Venezuela. We have noted the unprecedented pressure by Washington, aimed to destabilize the situation in your country. We support the efforts of the republic’s government aimed at carrying out an independent foreign policy and fighting the attempts by the USA to change the legally elected government," Shoigu said.
He noted that as a result of these efforts, the US' plan to organize mass protests and divide the Venezuelan society under the guise of humanitarian support has failed. "To our mind, only Venezuelans have the right to determine their future. Foreign interference, especially in the current volatile situation, is unacceptable," the Russian defense minister stressed.
Shoigu added that the Venezuelan Armed Forces guarantee the preservation of the republic’s government system and its territorial integrity. "I would like to hear your estimates of the development of the situation in the country, and then move on to the discussion of the issues of bilateral military and military-technical cooperation, as well as several other issues," the Russian defense minister concluded.
Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and speaker of the National Assembly, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital, Caracas, on January 23. On the same day, the United States recognized him as an interim president, and the countries of the Lima Group (excluding Mexico) and the Organization of American States followed suit. Venezuela's incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted the move as an attempted coup and announced cutting diplomatic ties with the United States.
Most European Union member states recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president. Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro.