The US can expect “catastrophic consequences” if Washington opts for military intervention in the Venezuelan political crisis, Russia’s Foreign Ministry threatened on Thursday.

The swearing in of oppositionist Juan Guaidó, head of the National Assembly, as “acting president of Venezuela” and his immediate recognition in this capacity by the US points towards the “desire to pull off in Venezuela the time-tested script of replacing unfavorable governments,” the Russian department said in a statement.

“Especially alarming are the signals coming from a number of capitals that external armed intervention cannot be ruled out,” the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed, alluding to a statement made by US President Donald Trump the day before.

When asked whether the US may send troops to support the opposition government, Trump said that “all scenarios are still available”, although no military intervention is currently being considered.

If such a decision is made, Russia’s Foreign Ministry says it will be “a venture fraught with catastrophic consequences”.

Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that overthrowing Nicolás Maduro, who met with Vladimir Putin only a month ago in Moscow, would “undermine the foundations and principles of international law”.

“Caracas is an important trade and economic partner for Russia. There are many concrete projects both in trade and economic and in investment cooperation. A number of our companies are present in the Venezuelan market and growing their presence there, and have further development plans. That is why we are interested in maintaining and improving our good relations with Venezuela,” he clarified.

According to Reuters, since 2006, Russia has lent the Venezuelan government $17 billion. The most recent loan of $3.1 billion was issued at the end of 2017. One year later, Russia agreed to restructure the Venezuelan debt and change the repayment schedule, since the Maduro government is already $1 billion behind according to Russia’s Accounts Chamber.

The Russian energy company Rosneft has also given Venezuela $3.1 billion in the form of prepayment for Venezuelan oil. At the end of trade on Thursday, Rosneft’s shares had fallen by 2.7% on the Moscow Exchange, equivalent to a 140 billion drop in the company’s market capitalization.

(c) uawire.org

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