Russia warns US against imposing blockade on Venezuela

Deputy foreign minister's remarks come amid visit to Russia by Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez

Elena Teslova   | 20.08.2019
Russia warns US against imposing blockade on Venezuela


Russia on Tuesday warned the U.S. against "incautious steps" in tightening sanctions on Venezuela, and in particular throwing a total blockade over the country.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov called on Washington to assist Venezuelans in bridging existing chasms instead of hindering talks between the government and opposition.

He said he would discuss the situation in Venezuela with Delcy Rodriguez, the country's vice president, who arrived in Russia on Monday for a working visit.

"We will examine the situation, referring to the strengthening by Washington of illegal, illegitimate sanction measures, attempts to set up a blockade [on Venezuela]. We warn Washington against incautious steps in this area," Ryabkov said.

Political unrest in Venezuela spiked in January when opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself the rightful president, dismissing Nicolas Maduro’s 2018 re-election as a fraud, in a move recognized by more than 50 countries, including the U.S.

But Russia, China, and Iran have thrown their weight behind Maduro, as has Turkey.

- US' missile test

Turning to Monday’s U.S. missile test, violating the limits of the defunct Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Ryabkov pointed to the timing of the test.

"It is noteworthy that the test of an improved Tomahawk missile occurred just 16 days after the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty and the termination of the treaty,” he said.

“I think there can be no more clear and explicit confirmation that the development of relevant systems started in the United States a long time ago and the preparation for withdrawal from the treaty included, among other things, related research and development."

He stressed that the launch was carried out with the Mk-41 system, which Russia suspects can be re-equipped for cruise missile launches.

On Aug. 2, the U.S. formally withdrew from the nuclear pact, following a months-long war of words between Moscow and Washington.

The treaty was signed in 1987 by then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan, reducing the chances of a nuclear war in Europe.

Under the treaty, both sides destroyed the whole class of intermediate- and short-range missiles in a span of four years.

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