Russian Federation warns US: 'Don't invade Venezuela' after 'all options' threat

Elliott Abrams listens to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talk about Venezuela at the State Department in Washington on Jan. 25 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Names Former Republican Official to Run Venezuela Policy

"Nobody is going to give us deadlines or tell us if there are elections or not", Arreaza said.

Guaido took a symbolic oath of office Wednesday proclaiming himself the nation's constitutional leader on grounds that Maduro's re-election a year ago was fraudulent - an allegation supported by the USA, the European Union and many other nations. He was considered for deputy secretary of state after President Donald Trump's election but was reportedly rejected over alleged criticism he made of Trump.

Also on Twitter, German government spokeswoman Martina Fietz used almost identical language, adding "complete security" as a necessary condition for elections.

Pompeo also called on the worldwide community to disconnect their financial systems from Maduro's regime.

"If anything represents a threat to peace and security, it is the shameless and aggressive actions of the United States and their allies to oust a legitimately elected president of Venezuela", Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said, accusing the US of an "attempt to engineer a coup d'etat". "Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem", he said.

Spain had wanted the European Union to take a tough line on Maduro by calling for immediate elections, failing which the bloc as a whole would recognise Guaido, the 35-year-old head of Venezuela's National Assembly.

He said: "Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side".

Global relations minister Lindiwe Sisulu has made it clear that South Africa will not support the US's efforts for the United Nations Security Council to recognise Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as president.

China's UN Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu said his government "firmly opposed" the USA accusations and doesn't interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. Venezuela's top military officials swore their allegiance on Thursday.

Mr Maduro cruised to re-election in May past year amid low turnout and allegations of vote-buying by the Government.

In a specific reference to "our Russian and Chinese colleagues", he added: "It's not a surprise that those who rule without democracy in their own countries are trying to prop up Maduro while he is in dire straits".

Arreaza said that the military, whose leadership remains loyal to Maduro, will never overthrow him.

The National Assembly has argued for vacating the presidency and filling the position on an interim basis with the head of the legislative body.

The ongoing turmoil in the country saw thousands of protesters calling for Mr Maduro's resignation tear-gassed by police during as demonstrations in the capital of Caracas turned ugly. He called on supporters to help promote his legislation offering an amnesty to members of the armed forces accused of corruption or human-rights abuses if they break ranks.

Guaido's move is the most direct challenge to Maduro's rule despite years of protests at home and worldwide efforts to isolate the regime amid a growing humanitarian crisis fueled by falling oil prices and government mismanagement.

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