(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Russia yesterday accused the US of trying to forcibly overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whom Moscow supports.
'We will continue to resist attempts to stage a coup in Venezuela that have been a failure so far, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters. Russia expects such coup attempts to 'continue at the US behest, Ryabkov said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.
Russia has sent military advisers to Venezuela.
Washington has not excluded the possibility of a military intervention to oust Maduro, who won a second term in a disputed election a year ago and under whose rule the economy has edged towards collapse.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom the US and dozens of other countries have recognized as Venezuela's interim president, has repeatedly referred to an eventual military intervention recently.
Guaido also says he has won over part of the army, more than 1,000 of whose members have defected to Colombia and Brazil.
Maduro on Tuesday ordered the army to purge 'traitors from its ranks. If such a person is discovered, 'it is an order: capture him immediately, Maduro told thousands of soldiers at a military event in the northern state of Carabobo.
Earlier, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has called on the US to seek 'dialogue and to lift what he called its 'military threat against his country.
'It is not a war that we want in Venezuela, we may be preparing (for it) because the circumstances are forcing us, but we want peace, Arreaza said in Havana.
The minister was in the Cuban capital to attend a meeting of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), an inter-governmental organisation which was founded by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004.
'From Havana, we call the US to a dialogue, to an understanding, to respect each other and for the end of the military threat, the end of arrogance, Arreaza said at the ALBA meeting.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said that 'the threat of the use of force against the sister Bolivarian republic of Venezuela constitutes the most serious danger to peace and regional security.
Meanwhile, it was claimed that the US is preparing sanctions and criminal charges against Venezuelan officials and others suspected of using a military-run food aid programme to launder money for Maduro's government.
These actions are expected to be taken within the next three months as part of the Trump administration's push to curtail the cash flow to Maduro and his loyalists, two sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.